May 15—North Valley Hospital in Whitefish is undergoing its first major expansion in nearly six years as the construction of a fifth surgical suite gets underway.
Construction began May 3 on a new 625-square-foot suite, which will be dedicated to Cesarean section births, and is expected to be completed by early October of this year, at a cost of $960,000.
According to hospital CEO Kevin Abel, the expansion will allow for additional space to be available during busy times in the operating room.
"We are excited about the project. We are at the cusp where we could use a dedicated OR for C-sections to create a better environment for those in need of that service," Abel said. "The addition will really come in handy in those rare situations where we have a trauma, a surgery and a C-section happening all at the same time. The addition will keep other space free for our surgeons."
According to Abel, North Valley Hospital assisted with 572 births in 2020. Just over 30% of all births in the United States occur via Cesarean section, according to the most recent study by the Centers for Disease Control.
Built in 2007, North Valley Hospital was designated a Baby Friendly Facility by Baby Friendly USA, the accrediting body and national authority for the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative in the U.S. in 2018.
The new surgical suite is the first major addition to the hospital since the birth center was expanded from four to seven rooms in 2015.
"This new addition will support the services we already provide here at North Valley Hospital as we continue to strive to provide the best service we can," Abel said.
Reporter Jeremy Weber may be reached at 758-4446 or firstname.lastname@example.org