Work is beginning today on a 40,000-square foot expansion that will nearly double the size of the Penn State Hershey Rehabilitation Hospital.
The project is a joint venture of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Select Medical and is affiliated with the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in New Jersey. The expansion will convert the hospital from a one-story facility to a two-story facility. The hospital will remain fully operational throughout. Completion is expected by spring 2014.
According to a news release, the hospital at 1135 Old West Chocolate Ave. opened in 2010, has 54 beds and has seen an increasing number of referrals from physicians throughout central Pennsylvania and beyond seeking inpatient rehabilitation for critically injured patients. The expansion will add 44 beds, of which 22 will be transitional care rehabilitation beds for patients with short-term rehabilitation needs. There also will be an outpatient program specializing in ongoing treatment for traumatic brain injuries and an outpatient wound care program.
Taggart Architects designed the expansion, and the general contractor is Brasfield & Gorrie. The hospital declined to specify the total cost of the project.
The organizations say the additions are in response to a need for specialized rehabilitation services in the region.
"Together with our partners and dedicated staff, the new beds and programs will further help patients who would otherwise have to travel to far-off locations to find similarly advanced treatment," said Scott Guevin, CEO of Penn State Hershey Rehabilitation Hospital.
In August, the hospital will see the addition of Dr. David R. Gater Jr. as the inaugural Rocco Ortenzio Chair of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine. In this role, Gater will oversee the clinical programs at the Rehabilitation Hospital. He brings experience in clinical care, research and training related to spinal cord injuries and other rehabilitative medical conditions. Gater joins Penn State Hershey from Virginia Commonwealth University and the Department of Veterans Affairs Hunter Holmes McGuire Medical Center.