Tower 5 on schedule, budget

WHEELING HOSPITAL played host to elected officials, media members and various others Tuesday as luncheon guests were updated on the current construction of the hospital’s Tower 5.

Wheeling Hospital Chief Executive Officer Ron Violi briefed those in attendance while also fielding questions.

“Tower 5 is well on its way,” Violi said. “We’re on time and on budget.”

Construction of the seven-story, 145,000-square-foot structure is expected to be completed in early 2012. Work has continued despite the recent rash of frigid weather.

Once completed, Tower 5 will feature a new pediatric unit, three intensive care units and an emergency room that is three times the size of the current space.

As for the current emergency room, its future is still undecided, but officials are considering the possibility of converting it to an operating room, due to its proximity to the other surgical units.

Violi noted that local trade workers were entrusted with Tower 5’s construction. He added that few labor problems have surfaced among workers.

Tower 5 will result in the creation of 50 new jobs to a staff that Violi praised.

“The real equity, the real asset, comes in the people that work here — the physicians and nurses,” he noted.

When asked about the possibility of a Tower 6, Violi said he could foresee the development of any facility that “fits the need of the community,” including assisted and independent living centers.

Violi also noted that the hospital is continuing to work on providing additional parking spaces.

Ground was broken on the more than $50 million project in late February.

(Times Leader Managing Editor Robert Kapral also contributed to this story.)