Erlanger board gets glimpse of possible future

Erlanger board gets glimpse of possible future

March 23rd, 2018 by Elizabeth Fite in Local Regional News

In this Monday, Nov. 13, 2017, staff file photo, Bruce Komiske, Erlanger's vice president of new hospital design and construction, talks about the Children's Outpatient Center in the construction office on the Erlanger campus in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Photo by C.B. Schmelter /Times Free Press.

Erlanger Health System's new children's outpatient center is on track to open its doors this December, and leadership is now looking toward the hospital's next phase.

"Some of our facilities are not what we would hope to see," said Bruce Komiske, Erlanger's vice president of new hospital design and construction, as he addressed the board Thursday during its monthly meeting.

The new outpatient center was Erlanger's first step in elevating its main campus to contemporary standards.

Komiske wasn't seeking board approval — just feedback — for the next phase, which he called "the most important phase in the near-term history of Erlanger."

The idea is to build a 12-story tower between the west and east wings off the hospital. Patient rooms would be universal size to accommodate more than just children in the future, adding 216 new rooms and renovating 100 more, which would modernize more than half of the patient rooms at Erlanger.

The third phase, which would be a minimum of five years away, would be to complete a full children's hospital across from the new outpatient center. There are also talks of building a hotel, to be funded by a partner hotel company yet to be selected, as well as a neuroscience institute, and several other ideas.

"This is not in any way a done deal," Komiske said. "It's a work in process, but we wanted to share the vision of what that could look like and the impact that will have on our campus and the value of having a hotel built on our campus."

Board Chairman Jack Studer said these plans underlie the importance that Erlanger continues to head in the right direction.

"If we do it right, we might be able to do some or all of this. If we do it wrong, we're going to miss out on a lot of opportunities," he said.

The board also passed a resolution that confirmed its approval of a Certificate of Need application for a new radiation oncology center in Catoosa County, Ga. Studer said that with the amount of projects Erlanger is currently juggling, management needs to "make sure that we have a very clear process" for such applications going forward.

Contact staff writer Elizabeth Fite at or 423-757-6673.