Face-lifts at St. Clair Hospital are not limited to plastic surgery.
A $2.5 million renovation was unveiled at the facility in Mt. Lebanon yesterday morning, where cherry-paneled walls and sleek design have transformed the formerly gray, sterile public spaces in the lobby area of the fourth floor.
Although most of the work on the project was completed in late June, as of Monday, the air was peppered with the sounds of industrial vacuums and occasional hammering.
This was in preparation for a dedication ceremony featuring hospital officials and the family of major donor Edward B. Dunlap yesterday. The ceremony was followed by an open house.
Speakers included Mr. Dunlap, chairman and CEO of CentiMark Corp.; James S. Broadhurst, chairman of Eat 'n Park Hospitality Group, which provides food service to the hospital through Cura Hospitality; Mitchell G. Possinger, president of Cura; James M. Collins, president and CEO of St. Clair Hospital; and Dr. G. Alan Yeasted, St. Clair senior vice president and chief medical officer.
The hospital completed a $13.5 million reconstruction of its emergency room in December.
This second phase of major work began in mid-March, when areas such as the old Formica-counter snack bar were shut down. Along the way, the public relations department scrambled to post directional signs because hallways were temporarily blocked and walls removed.
Visitors to the refreshed fourth floor will immediately notice the difference in tone. Gone are the gray areas, gone is the giant fish tank -- its occupants relocated to other tanks in new areas of the hospital. The walls are warm, with silver accents.
Walking through the main doors, to the right of the gift shop is a new "Cafe 4" counter service restaurant reminiscent of a Panera Bread restaurant. Fresh choices such as salad Nicoise and wraps are listed on an electronic flat-screen announcement board.
"Grab and go" containers of premade foods such as salads, cut-up fruits and vegetables, and drinks are available throughout the day.
Although many items on Cura Hospitality's new menu are geared toward healthier dining, you can still get a milkshake made with real ice cream.
"That was one of the things we just couldn't let go," said Joan Massella, administrative vice president and chief nursing officer.
Edgewood architects Lami Grubb designed the Cafe 4 area. The other spaces were done by Valentour English Bodnar & Howell, of Mt. Lebanon.
In the booth area is a large, flat screen television. On a recent afternoon, it was tuned to CNN, but the TV will enable families of patients to watch popular broadcasts.
The booths seat 32 patrons. A sunny outdoors area still awaits an awning and chairs, but when completed, it will provide space for about 40 more.
Across the way in the lobby is an additional cafe seating area for 15, with yellow armchairs and free Wi-Fi.
This space had been used as a waiting area for discharged patients, but that has been flip-flopped across the expansive lobby and can be found on the other side of the main bank of elevators.
Andrea Kalina, St. Clair vice president for human resources and organizational advancement, noted that local artist Leroy G. Pettis was commissioned to create 13 paintings that feature landmarks such as the Brookline fire station, the Green Tree water tower, Old St. Luke's Church in Scott and Gilfallan Farm in Upper St. Clair.
The new Dunlap Conference Center used to be a large, industrial-looking room where everything from staff meetings to blood drives vied for space.
Now it's a modern meeting place that can be partitioned into three rooms, all with tastefully lighted tray ceilings and cherry tables.
There are two high-tech projectors and a specialized audio system.
"There is such a demand for hospital meeting space, but there is still room for the community," Ms. Kalina said.
A fourth-floor doctors lounge also was renovated.
"The medical executive committee was really part of the process with this," said Ms. Kalina, walking through a small suite of rooms that included a couch and chairs, television, small bank of computers, two tiny sleeping rooms adjacent to a shower area, plus access to a medical records room.
"It all came in pretty much on schedule and on budget," said Ms. Kalina, who said the project was bankrolled by Cura Hospitality, the Dunlap family and fundraising events.
Now that the construction dust has settled, the hospital has long-range plans to renovate the first-floor lobby area as well as some patient rooms, perhaps creating more singles.
After, of course, more fundraising.
Maria Sciullo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-851-1867.