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Penn Highlands State College Hospital on Track for Summer Opening

A new $70 million hospital and medical arts facility is taking shape in Patton Township.

Penn Highlands State College is projected to open in summer 2024, after breaking ground in the spring of 2022. On Wednesday, health system officials offered media and township representatives a look inside the buildings located at 239 Colonnade Boulevard, behind Sheetz and Cracker Barrel.

The hospital will be Penn Highlands Healthcare’s ninth and the first the system has built from scratch since forming in 2011, with the other eight joining through mergers.

“It will be the first hospital that we have built from the ground up, which is so exciting,” Rhonda Halstead, Penn Highlands regional market president for the central region, said. “We get to design our culture, the flow of our patients. Everything that we’re going to offer to the community is very well thought out. As a president who’s never had a new hospital in my career, it’s very exciting.”

Penn Highlands’ central region includes hospitals in Tyrone and Huntingdon, and Halstead described the expansion to the State College area as a “natural progression” along the Interstate 99 corridor. Penn Highlands State College is located just off of the Waddle Road exit of I-99.

The project includes an 82,000-square-foot hospital and 32,000-square-foot medical office building primarily focused on outpatient services, but with some inpatient services, including a surgical department.

A rendering shows the emergency department at Penn Highlands State College. Photo by Geoff Rushton | StateCollege.com

The hospital will have an emergency department with 10 private treatment rooms. Penn Highlands will seek level IV trauma center certification for the emergency department.

“A level IV truly just stabilizes a patient and gets them to a higher level of care,” Halstead said. “For us that would be DuBois, which is our trauma II unit.”

The surgical department will include three operating suites for a range of surgeries including general, orthopedic, ear nose and throat and gynecological, as well as endoscopy procedure room. A pulmonary function lab will have advanced screening, diagnosis and treatment, and robotic-assisted bronchoscopy.

The hospital’s second floor will have 18 private inpatient rooms. A medical imaging department will offer MRI, CT, ultrasound, X-ray and nuclear medicine.

State College will be Penn Highlands’ first to utilize a “digital front door,” aimed at making registration and check-in more efficient.

“The digital front door will streamline the care and navigation and ultimately enhance the patient experience,” Halstead said. “First our patients will enjoy convenient online registration. Before they even arrive on the campus information intake enables patients to enjoy contactless check-in. They can bypass the clipboards, the paperwork and registration in the hospital outpatient services and even in the physician offices.”

Connected to the hospital the medical office building will have family medicine, pediatrics and specialty care. A walk-in clinic will be open to patients of all ages, and a retail pharmacy will have a drive-through.

The building will house services for the Hahne Cancer Center, with a team of oncologists and multidisciplinary care. The center will have 14 infusion bays and radiation services, including an advanced linear accelerator designed for precision delivery of radiation treatments.

Other specialties will include OB/GYN and women’s medical imaging with screening and diagnostic mammograms, breast ultrasounds and bone density scans.

An office of Penn Highlands Heart Center will provide noninvasive testing, EKG and echocardiogram, and the Lung Center will offer screenings, diagnostics and treatments.

Lab services will also be on site.

“Much consideration and evaluation went into deciding which services would be provided at State College, and to have citizens here be confident in the service we are going to be providing is the highest of care,” Halstead said.

The hospital and medical arts building are expected to employ about 220 people. Some may transfer from other Penn Highlands locations, but Halstead said much of the hiring will be within the Centre County market.