Renewing St. Joe's
in the three-story atrium, detours through the much-expanded coffee shop, and describes the new pharmacy and gift shop--"it'll be set up like a CVS," he says. Add the health spa and beauty salon and it could be any small shopping center--until Tocco mentions that cancer patients will also be able to buy wigs and other prosthetics.
Tocco thinks the retail area will be ready by May, the same month patients will move into the seven-story tower's upper floors. But the ground floor will open to the public in mid January, when the main entrance that has served the hospital since 1977 will close. For the next year, visitors and patients will enter through the new building.
The Catholic-affiliated hospital has been growing rapidly ever since it moved to what was then the countryside between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti more than thirty years ago. Its latest master plan was adopted in 2000. Since then, St. Joe's has built a new emergency room that doubled the number of patient bays; a women's center, family birthing center, and imaging center; and a new operating suite that more than doubled the number of prep and recovery rooms.
The "renewal" is culminating in the replacement of the hospital itself. Overseen by Tocco and St. Joe's VP Kathleen Rhine, it's been underway since 2005. Regulators don't like hospitals to add more beds, and St. Joe's hasn't--but between the nine-story East Tower, which opened in 2007, and the new North Tower, by this spring all 573 patient rooms will have been replaced.