By Mason W. Canales

Killeen Daily Herald

About 30 people trekked through two new Metroplex facilities Thursday during a Hard Hat Tour.

"This is truly an exciting time at Metroplex, because we have clear signs of expansion," Jeffrey D. Villanueva, vice president and Rollins Brook Community Hospital administrator, said before the tour.

Villanueva mentioned the Sue Mayborn Women's Center on a list of recently added facilities before announcing the tour of the new Metroplex Emergency Department expansion and the Hemingway Medical Office Building.

The new emergency department is expected to open Thursday, said Malae Lucas, Metroplex Emergency Service director.

The facility will house 25 exam rooms and five trauma rooms, Metroplex officials said in a news release.

"We can keep all the criticals in one area and the non in another," Lucas said about the separation of the trauma rooms and the exam rooms.

The new emergency department will add about 14,500 square feet and renovate the other 9,500 square feet of the facility, officials said. It will serve between 65,000 and 70,000 patients annually. The current facility serves about 55,000 but was only designed for 28,000 patients.

"We are doubling our size and a bit more," Lucas said.

Hemingway Medical Office Building

Scott & White's Dr. James Sing Jr., director of the gastrointestinal tumor board, and Metroplex Facility Manager Tom Riddle spoke about the Hemingway Medical Office Building.

"We are going to bring in new features never seen here at Metroplex," Sing said.

The nearly 90,000-square-foot building will house the new Metroplex Endoscopy Center and about 10 physicians specializing in gastroenterology, pediatrics, endoscopy, cardiology, orthopedics, gynecology and surgery. It should be finished by October.

Six endoscopy treatment rooms will use ultrasound scopes to

enable doctors to see people from the inside out, Sing said.

The service will help detect certain cancers earlier as well as help determine the stage of tumors, Sing said.

"These services are not offered in many places," Sing said. "We are placing Metroplex on the map."

Riddle walked the group around the skeleton walled building and discussed where the entrance would be, as well as the endoscopy rooms.

The current facility at Metroplex handles about 4,500 patients a year; the new office building will handle "significantly more," Riddle said.

When the building opens, it will be fully leased, said Penny Johnson, Metroplex vice president and chief financial officer.

"When you grow, you need more staff, and when you need more staff, you need a place for them to go," Lucas said, commenting that Metroplex will have the space to grow as the community grows.

Contact Mason W. Canales at or (254) 501-7554. Follow him on Twitter at KDHheights.

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