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Rising to the challenge
The 186,000-square-foot Gary & Donna Hall Tower, which opened at Freeman West in fall 2007, gave the health system room to grow and provided patients with enhanced trauma services, life-saving technologies, and soothing amenities to make families feel at home and speed patient recovery.

Freeman built the 6-story expansion to fulfill its mission of improving the health of the communities it serves through contemporary, innovative, quality healthcare solutions. This expansion tripled the size of the emergency room and added 56 private patient rooms, 250 conveniently located parking places, and a new physical plant to the facility.

In 2003, Freeman began planning for the needs of an aging population, reasoning that as baby boomers get older, the demand for hospital services would increase. “We needed room to grow,” said Lance Beshore, PhD, Chairman of the Freeman Health System Board of Directors.

While health system administrators initially proposed a modest expansion, the Freeman Board of Directors wanted more; plans for a six-story tower grew from their vision. “I think the spirit here is very entrepreneurial,” Beshore said. “It’s risk-taking with a calculated approach, trying to improve healthcare for the people here. It’s not about going up; it’s about providing healthcare services for people right here in their community. People in this area used to go to Tulsa, Kansas City, or Little Rock for procedures and surgeries. That’s all changed.” 

Gary & Donna Hall Tower was built to improve the health of the community by giving the hospital space to house medical innovation and increase patient satisfaction. In addition, the beauty of the design improves the image of the community, and the quality of the facility helps attract new residents and new businesses to the area.

The 5th floor of Gary & Donna Hall Tower opened in March 2012, while the 6th floor is currently under construction. Additional patient rooms require additional nurses and support staff; this translates into more good-paying jobs to stimulate the economy. Experts predict a doctor shortage in the next few years, and the new Freeman expansion will help recruiters bring qualified physicians to work in the Four States ensuring the continued, close-to-home availability of essential healthcare services.

Project description and distinguishing features
Trends in healthcare point to customer convenience and amenities—Gary & Donna Hall Tower provides many innovative features that promote both lifesaving healthcare and exceptional customer service.

Emergency Department features: 

  • Cutting edge shock/trauma bay with three-second X-ray
  • Dual triage area
  • Built-in decontamination system to limit the spread of biohazards
  • Negative pressure isolation areas to reduce the spread of airborne diseases
  • Behavioral health observation rooms in the Emergency Department
  • Lounge for EMS techs, pilots, and drivers
  • In-department diagnostic lab and X- ray
  • Hot off-load helipad with dedicated access to shock/trauma bay
  • Admitting area—private intake rooms providing security for patients during the disclosure of personal and confidential information
  • Patient rooms with homelike amenities, privacy space for patients and families, and better access for nurses
  • Window seats that fold into beds for the comfort and convenience of family members staying with patients overnight
  • Nourishment lounges on patient floors for patients and families
  • Physical therapy facilities on orthopaedics/neurology floor
  • Healing atmosphere

Lots of windows and natural light throughout facility

Decorated with refreshing colors and photographs of four-state scenery

Built-in noise-reduction measures such as wide corridors and glassed-enclosed nursing stations

Waterfall in lobby

Integrated, state-of-the-art nurse call and communication systems

Plentiful, comfortable waiting areas throughout the facility

Retail services—QuickMeds Pharmacy and Freeman Gift Gallery—conveniently located in the hospital lobby

Region’s first Admitting & Discharge Lounge with private exit to car

Multiple drive-up lanes to main entrance for customer convenience 

Environmental and energy impact
Freeman’s expansion also included the construction of a new physical plant to meet the electrical and heating and cooling demands of the new facility as well as those of the existing hospital. Described as Freeman’s hidden gem, the new physical plant features environmental controls, designed exclusively for Freeman, that conserve energy as efficiently as any in the world. The plant also uses a state-of-the art chill water system that does everything from providing drinking water to cooling the temperature of patient rooms to sterilizing surgical instruments.

Construction overview
The Freeman expansion project took place in phases. First phase site improvements included reorientation and construction of all parking lots adjacent to Freeman West, relocation of the existing water main, new electrical service for the addition, demolition of an existing office building, alignment of 34th Street, and new streets to the main and emergency entries and parking lots; the second phase centered on building the six-story tower; and the third phase focused on construction of a new, two-story, stand- alone central plant.

Project history/timeline

2003

  • Freeman plans for expansion in order to meet the future needs of the community

2004

  • Three-level parking deck constructed on McIntosh Circle, west of existing hospital
  • Freeman breaks ground for tower

2005

  • Site work and excavation begins for tower

2006

  • Tower construction continues
  • Central plant completed and commissioned

2007

  • City of Joplin installs a stoplight at McIntosh Circle East and realigns Jackson Street
  • Dedication of Freeman West Tower October 28
  • Emergency Department and General Surgery and Orthopaedics/Neurology units move into new facility October 31–November 8

2008

  • Freeman West Tower becomes the Gary & Donna Hall Tower May 22 in recognition of the couple’s $4.5 million donation

2011

  • Construction on 5th and 6th floors begins

2012