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      Memo: Blessing will construct new patient tower

      The new addition will be the light colored portion in the foreground of this schematic drawing.

      More private rooms are coming to Blessing Hospital.

      The hospital announced a new 70 million dollar patient tower it's building at eleventh and Broadway.

      The tower will primarily house patients of the hospital's Behavioral Health Services, which is currently in the old St. Mary's Hospital building on 14th Street. Right now, the old hospital is still licensed by the state as a functioning hospital because it houses patients. When the new tower is open, the licensing can change on the 14th street building.

      The new tower will also have space for private rooms in the upper floors, and some semi-private rooms in Blessing Hospital will also be converted to private rooms.

      When construction is finished, 70 percent of the patient rooms in Blessing Hospital will be private.

      "Private rooms afford more patient privacy and confidentiality," Maureen Kahn said. "They promote safety so we don't have unnecessary equipment in a patient room where they could trip or fall and they also help prevent transmission of infection."

      Plans are to have a groundbreaking later this summer or fall.

      Construction will last about two and a half years.