Metropolitan Methodist Hospital officially broke ground on a $50 million expansion project on Tuesday morning.
The hospital, located at 1310 McCullough Avenue, hosted a "skybreaking" ceremony to celebrate the project.
Special guests included hospital administrators and officials, who shoveled dirt ceremoniously as construction crews used sledgehammers to demolish the side of a building where the new structure will connect.
Metropolitan Methodist CEO Greg Seiler said the expansion comes at a good time.
"We are full," he said. "We are very busy now and so this expansion (comes at a good time) for us."
An increase in patients started around July after Christus-Santa Rosa closed its downtown hospital to adults
In addition, there's been a lot of growth around downtown.
The new expansion project will help meet the community's needs.
"We saw the need for this growth, as well as renovation of our current beds," he said.
The project will add an 85,000-square-foot intensive care unit tower to the hospital, which will accommodate 48 ICU beds.
It also includes diagnostic and surgery areas and a new gastrointestinal lab.
"We intend to add more services (and) more critical specialists to our medical staff with this expansion," said Dr. Averell Sutton, vice chair of medical board for Methodist Hospital System
A portion of 300 E. Laurel Street will be shut down during construction, but when it's complete, cars will be able to pass underneath the building.