CHRISTUS Spohn Health System is leading the largest expansion plan in its history in order to enhance its patient care capabilities and services across Texas’ Coastal Bend region.

“We began our transformation journey, which we call ‘Our PATH Forward,’ more than four years ago. PATH stands for people and actions transforming health care,” explains Brian E. Connor, president of CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-Shoreline and Memorial. “The Coastal Bend continues to grow, and we want to grow with it and meet the health and wellness needs of our community.”

This Catholic, faith-based health care provider has a 110-year legacy in South Texas and is also the area’s largest hospital system, with six campuses and numerous clinics.

PATH, a $335-million master facility plan, is the largest single investment in the health care provider’s history.

“This was made possible by a $285-million investment by CHRISTUS Health and $50 million in philanthropic donations. No tax dollars were used,” Connor notes. “It’s a commitment to the community that not only are we here to stay, but we are investing in the highest quality of care that we can offer today and for years to come. That means our community can experience world-class health care close to home.”

In 2015, teams broke ground on the CHRISTUS Spohn Health System Master Facility Plan, a $189.5-million multisite project that includes the CHRISTUS Spohn Dr. Hector P. Garcia Memorial Family Health Center, which opened in January.

The 42,000-sq-ft facility “now serves as a medical home for hundreds of Nueces County residents, offering primary and urgent care services, a drive-through pharmacy, labs and more,” Connor says.

Then in 2016, work began on the $275-million CHRISTUS Spohn Shoreline Campus, where a 10-story patient care tower will open in early 2019.

“The tower will offer nearly 200 new beds and expand our ability to provide care to our growing population in South Texas with the most advanced technology and highly skilled teams in the region,” Connor says. “Across the street from the new tower, we are also constructing Shoreline’s new central utility plant, which will serve as the brain for our new hospital. This is where our state-of-the-art buildings will receive power, water, oxygen and more.”

A team comprising construction manager CBRE, architect Perkins+Will and general contractor McCarthy Building Cos. worked on both jobs. Judah Auld, chief estimator at McCarthy, notes that CHRISTUS Spohn was “forward thinking” in selecting its project teams.

“From the start, CHRISTUS Spohn was different than most owners,” Auld says. “Their team was very engaged, from the top down, in the design process. They had a strong sense of direction as to how they wanted their hospital to look and function. In the end, this helped CHRISTUS Spohn push the team to think differently and arrive at the best solution.”

Over the last two years, teams working for CHRISTUS Spohn have had zero injuries or accidents and have delivered all projects on time, Connor notes. “We are very lucky to have partnered with such great organizations.”

CHRISTUS Spohn also aims to be good stewards of all its resources: human, financial, environmental and local, Connor adds.

“Our teams are always looking for ways to reduce waste and save energy. Just last month, our Shoreline operations team was recognized by AEP of Texas, our area electrical provider, for implementing LED lighting in our facility that will save the community an estimated 500,000 kW-hours of energy each year,” he says. “We are proud of initiatives like these that benefit our community.”

Work on the Shoreline campus has included more than 1 million sq ft of demolition, 400,000 sq ft of new construction and 160,000 sq ft of renovation, notes Al Gomez, project director with McCarthy. Given its location in a hurricane zone near the Corpus Christi Bay, the project has also required sturdier than normal construction.

“Shoreline is becoming a state-of-the-art Level II trauma center and tertiary referral center for the Coastal Bend. The emergency department will house the trauma center, which is the only Level II trauma center south of Austin,” he says.

As with any project of such scale, maintaining safety and communication is at the forefront for CHRISTUS Spohn, Connor says. “That means making sure all work areas are marked with the proper signage and fencing, but also that our community is aware of what we are doing each week and where to use caution when utilizing our facilities,” he says.

A monthly construction bulletin also went to patients, associates and neighbors to ensure that everyone would be aware of construction progress, he adds.

Auld believes CHRISTUS Spohn is successful because of the balance it achieves with both the project team’s needs and those of the community.

“I have worked almost exclusively in health care construction for 15 years, and CHRISTUS Spohn is the most community-minded hospital I have worked with,” Auld says. “Their team was constantly mindful of the community and what was best for Corpus Christi and the surrounding regions served.”

When the PATH project was first announced, CHRISTUS Spohn held town meetings and has maintained open lines of communication with the community throughout construction. “At the end of the day, we are building these facilities for our community to use, and we’ve tried to keep them involved in the process as much as we can,” Connor says.

CHRISTUS Spohn regularly starts “meetings with a reflective moment, and the team was very thoughtful about preserving the existing theological relics by designing a new sanctuary centered in the main lobby,” Auld recalls. “Institutions like CHRISTUS Spohn that hold to their faith-based traditions are a rare breed—it is refreshing to see them standing strong in their faith.”

Outreach to the less fortunate is another cornerstone of the health care provider’s Coastal Bend work. That includes community partnerships, charity care, toy drives, educational events and fundraisers. CHRISTUS Spohn uses its CareVan to bring health care to people who have travel or financial limitations. Four days a week, the CareVan transports a nurse practitioner to help patients with prenatal care, treatment of minor illnesses and wellness education. In 2015, the CareVan team cared for more than 3,000 uninsured, underserved individuals and provided nearly 1,000 flu shots.

For the moment, CHRISTUS Spohn is focused on completing work on its master facility plan. Those efforts have led to the expanded women’s services program at the Corpus Christi-South Hospital as well as an expanded cancer program. In addition, clinics have opened at hospitals in Kingsville, Alice and Beeville, Connor notes.