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Sierra Providence East to double in size
By: Melissa Gundersen
EL PASO, Texas -- A major construction project in far east El Paso is starting to spark the attention of the area's rapidly growing population.
As the area's population continues to grow, so does the hospital -- Sierra Providence East. Hospital staff said within the next few years the hospital will nearly double in size.
Patients said the expansion is necessary.
"For this area, with it growing so much, yeah, absolutely it needs to be expanded," said Jennifer Peterson of east El Paso.
Peterson was a patient at Sierra Providence East. She said she trusts the staff and gave birth to her baby girl there six months ago.
"The nurses and doctors were super friendly and I love it there," said Peterson.
But Peterson said some aspects of the hospital can definitely be improved.
"I know that we've had some experiences with the ER that wait times were a little bit long," said Peterson.
Sierra Providence staff said expanding the emergency room is on their list of improvements for the five-year-old facility.
"We started adding our new tower in year four and construction will be complete next year in 2014," said Sally Deitch, the hospital's chief executive officer.
It's a move that's expected to nearly double the size of the hospital. For example, Sierra Providence East has 110 beds and Deitch said, "We're adding 72 more beds to the facility (and) a brand new emergency room that will go up to 38 beds."
As KFOX14 previously reported, the Borderland suffers a doctor shortage. Hospital staff said this is an opportunity to recruit even more physicians and nurses to the area.
"The more doctors that we can get to El Paso the better it's going to be for all of El Paso," said Peterson.
Local businessman Oscar Carrera said he's excited for this expansion for another reason.
"Pumping more money into the economy. (If) people have more money, people could spend more," said Carrera.
Sierra Providence staff said research shows after five years the expansion would draw in close to a billion dollars, but it doesn't end there.
"We will be starting tower three, which is another addition, in 2016," said Deitch.
Deitch said the hospital could fit up to 500 beds.