EDINBURG — High above the construction site at South Texas Health Systems Edinburg, a 1,400-pound beam was raised and nestled atop the hospital’s new tower, signaling the progress toward its completion.

Hospital staff, administrators and local officials celebrated reaching the halfway point in the construction of the new tower, which is expected to be operational by fall 2022.

“It’s hard to believe that 10 months have passed since we broke ground on this new $100 million patient tower at South Texas Health Systems Edinburg, and we have officially reached the mid-way mark,” said Thomas Castaneda, director of marketing and public relations. “By this time next year, the tower should be fully operational, serving a vital role in meeting the healthcare needs of the people of the Rio Grande Valley.”

The new patient tower will include an expanded emergency department on the first floor, as well as an imaging department with a dedicated area for women, according to Lance Ames, CEO of South Texas Health System Edinburg and South Texas Health System Children’s.

A welder affixes an I-beam to the top Edinburg Regional Medical Center during a topping off ceremony on Thursday in Edinburg. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

On the second floor, the tower will include a larger intensive care unit with room for expansion, if need be. Above that, it will have med-surg and telemetry beds, as well as an inpatient rehabilitation unit.

“The new medical/surgical/telemetry beds that we’re going to be adding to this hospital are for patients that come here and need to be hospitalized for multiple days,” Ames explained. “So when you’re needing to be in the hospital for an extended period of time, you need advanced monitoring and that’s where the telemetry comes in.”

Overall, the tower is expected to add another 59 beds to the hospital.

“I’ve been here for over eight years now and we’ve just seen our hospital capacity reach its limits, and as more and more people hear about the great service we provide at the hospital, and the community continues to grow, we have just experienced our hospital getting to the point where we’re full capacity,” Ames said. “So several years ago, we started this project and started designing how can we expand our room so that we can take care of more members of this community.”

Attendees document and observe a I-beam rise into the air during the South Texas Health Systems topping off ceremony at Edinburg Regional Hospital on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, in Edinburg. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

The expansion is expected to be completed by August or September 2022, but the hospital is already recruiting staff and thinking about its next project, which includes adding new technology, new service lines and new care space .

“Our leadership team is always thinking, ‘What can we do better? How can we improve our service?'” Ames said. “So there’s always good things coming and I can just say that this tower is step one towards a strong future of great growth.”

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