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Bryan East expansion

A rendering shows the new surgical center on the Bryan East Campus. This view looks southeast from Cotner Boulevard and A Street.

Twenty years ago, the city of Lincoln came to Bryan Health with a recommendation for its landlocked east campus.

It identified a two-square-block area just northeast of the medical center between A and Everett and 50th to 52nd street as where growth should occur.

And over the past two decades, the health organization has purchased properties in that area as they became available -- 35 in all, the majority older rental homes.

Over the years, the buildings were razed.

Of the six homes that did not go on the market, Bryan Health made offers to purchase, which were accepted.

And recently Bryan Health began groundwork on a $25 million new outpatient ambulatory surgery center and physician office building, slated to open in 2018. Sampson Construction is the contractor.

The center, a joint venture between the hospital and more than 60 area physicians, will provide outpatient surgeries in the areas of gynecology, podiatry, plastics, orthopedic, dental and general surgeries -- thereby freeing up surgical rooms on Bryan’s East Campus for more complex operations requiring hospitalization, said John Woodrich, Bryan Medical Center president and chief operating officer.

The surgery center will occupy the entire first floor of the four-story building, about 17,000 square feet. The space will have six surgical suites, with room for future expansion. Floors two through four will house physician offices.

“More and more healthcare is moving to an outpatient model,” Woodrich said, with only the more complex surgeries and sicker patients being treated in the hospital.

Currently, outpatient surgeries are conducted through Bryan East’s medical plaza building, which shares its operating rooms with the medical center.

Space is at a premium, Woodrich said.

Once the new surgical center opens, Bryan Medical Center can begin renovating its hospital operating rooms, he said. Those surgical suites need to expand in width and size to accommodate healthcare technology.

Bryan Health facilities planners coined the surgical center as "Phase Zero," said Bob Ravenscroft, vice president of advancement at Bryan Health.

“We needed to do this for the other dominoes to fall in place within the campus,” Ravenscroft said.

As the community and surrounding areas continue to grow, Ravenscroft and Woodrich said Bryan Health is confident the ambulatory surgery center will fill the medical needs for the next 20 to 30 years.

In many respects, healthcare is sort of an if-you-expand-it-they-will-fill-it service.

Prior to recent renovations to the Bryan East Campus emergency room, about 70,000 patients passed through its doors each year.

Since the reconstruction, ER visits are up, with 83,000 to 84,000 patients projected for 2016, Ravenscroft said.

Early projections call for 5,000 surgeries a year to be performed at the new surgical center. And if needed, the building is designed to expand, thereby doubling the number of surgical suites.

Although Lincoln already has a variety of outpatient surgery centers, Woodrich said those are generally surgical specialties.

Bryan Health’s will be different in that it offers a wide variety of specialties and the convenience and closeness of being attached to the medical center by a skywalk. It was something the doctors wanted.

“The physicians came to us and proposed this,” Ravenscroft said. “So many of these physicians have a mix of inpatient and outpatient surgeries on a daily basis. This makes it efficient for them.”

Bryan Health also has made an effort to be good neighbors to the surrounding homes and nearby schools. They also foresee the surgical center bringing increased traffic to the nearby Piedmont shops.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7217 or eandersen@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSerinandersen.

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