Construction underway for $70 million hospital and medical office building in Patton Township

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Penn Highlands Healthcare, a health care system comprised of eight hospitals throughout Pennsylvania, is constructing a $70 million hospital and medical office building on Colonnade Boulevard in State College.

Construction of the Penn Highlands State College, a “patient-centric” hospital, and State College Medical Office Building is expected to be completed by spring 2024. On Tuesday, representatives from Penn Highlands Healthcare and Centre County officials celebrated the ceremonial groundbreaking.

Construction has begun for the new Penn Highlands Healthcare building on Colonnade Boulevard in State College, pictured on Tuesday.
Construction has begun for the new Penn Highlands Healthcare building on Colonnade Boulevard in State College, pictured on Tuesday.

Rhonda Halstead, regional market president for Penn Highlands Healthcare, is overseeing the construction and the launch of the State College location. She said while the hospital and medical office are new to the community, Penn Highlands has been in State College for a while. It previously merged with JC Blair, which provides services at 611 University Drive. The hospital and medical office will expand on those services, she said.

“We have specialty care there now, we have a lung center, we have rehab, we have gastro and we have neurosurgery. The hospital and medical office building we’re breaking ground (on) here today is to offer this community even more world class Penn Highlands Healthcare skilled physicians and medical professionals. Our patients will be greeted with a state-of-the-art advancement from the minute they enter this building,” Halstead said.

The facility at 239 Colonnade Blvd. will be “one of the most technically advanced hospitals in the region,” Halstead said. The three-story hospital will have an emergency department with 10 private treatment rooms and a trauma room, a surgical department with three operating suites and an endoscopy procedure room, 18 private, inpatient rooms, a medical imaging department, pulmonary function lab and innovative therapies.

Penn Highlands Healthcare is building a $70 million state-of-the-art hospital and medical office building on Colonnade Boulevard, State College.
Penn Highlands Healthcare is building a $70 million state-of-the-art hospital and medical office building on Colonnade Boulevard, State College.

The two-story medical office building will be located adjacent to the hospital and will feature a QCare walk-in clinic to provide care for infants to seniors, Penn Highlands Hahne Cancer Center, family medicine, pediatric and specialty care physicians, OB/GYN services, women’s medical imaging, a lung center, a heart center, laboratory services and a retail pharmacy with a drive-through.

“Overall, some of the best physicians and staff will be providing inpatient and outpatient care here at State College, expanding, advancing our health and wellness services in Centre County,” Halstead said.

Rhonda Halstead, Penn Highlands Healthcare regional market president in the central region, is managing the construction and launch of Penn Highlands State College.
Rhonda Halstead, Penn Highlands Healthcare regional market president in the central region, is managing the construction and launch of Penn Highlands State College.

Mark Norman, chief operating officer at Penn Highlands Healthcare, said the State College location is the first time Penn Highlands Healthcare is designing and building a “truly patient-centric hospital to meet today’s health care needs in the area.”

“We’re providing the people in Centre County and surrounding areas with convenient and innovative care delivered by skilled and compassionate Penn Highlands medical professionals,” Norman said.

The hospital and medical office will create jobs for medical professionals and ancillary workers, as well as for skilled laborers and craftsmen during the construction phase. Norman said every hospital job supports additional jobs in the community.

“Every dollar spent by the hospital supports roughly $2.30 in additional business activity, or as we like to call it, the economic ripple effect that health care has on all our communities,” Norman said.

Mark Norman, chief operating officer at Penn Highlands Healthcare, said the Penn Highlands State College hospital and medical office will provide the region with “convenient and innovative care delivered by skilled and compassionate penthouse medical professionals.”
Mark Norman, chief operating officer at Penn Highlands Healthcare, said the Penn Highlands State College hospital and medical office will provide the region with “convenient and innovative care delivered by skilled and compassionate penthouse medical professionals.”

Betsy Whitman, a Patton Township supervisor, in a phone interview said part of her job as a township supervisor is to make life run smoothly for residents, which includes access to good health care, transportation and services.

“Good health care, having access to that is one of the basic services. So we’re not only, you know, hosting it in Patton Township, obviously making it potentially more available to every single resident here. We’re making it available to people in the whole Centre Region and Centre County, and that’s a pretty wonderful service to know that we had some part in making (it) happen,” she said.

Ezra Nanes, State College mayor, applauded the Patton Township supervisors for their effort in and support of the project.

Penn Highlands State College will include 18 private inpatient rooms that will have the latest technology.
Penn Highlands State College will include 18 private inpatient rooms that will have the latest technology.

In a phone interview, Nanes said that with the expansion of health care in the area, more people will have access to it. He was pleased to see that the medical office included women’s health care, an area he said is often underserved.

Mount Nittany Health has served as the only hospital in Centre County for years. Nanes said he expects to see both hospitals succeed. Penn Highlands’ State College campus will be located on a different side of State College as Mount Nittany, which he said will be helpful for residents.

“I think you’ll see both hospitals continuing to have very high demand because population is growing, health care demands will not be going down. We’re in the midst of COVID still, so I think this will continue to be a very important area,” Nanes said.

A hospital brings positive impacts to the community, he said, and with that includes jobs.

“The thing that we have to focus on along with those jobs is making sure that the people who are employed in our local businesses are able to afford housing within this region as well, so you don’t have people having to drive an hour or an hour and a half to access their employment,” Nanes said.

Patients at Penn Highlands Healthcare’s new State College hospital will have access to the latest technology from registration through diagnosis and treatment. Shown are registration kiosks in the main lobby.
Patients at Penn Highlands Healthcare’s new State College hospital will have access to the latest technology from registration through diagnosis and treatment. Shown are registration kiosks in the main lobby.
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