CHESTER, Va. (WRIC) — Chesterfield County and Bon Secours officials broke ground Thursday on a 24,000-square-foot freestanding emergency department and imaging center, set to open Summer 2022 in Chester along Jefferson Davis Highway.

According to a release, the facility will serve as an extension of Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center.

“We are committed to expanding access to emergency services to meet the needs of our rapidly growing community and look forward to establishing much-needed health care services in this medically underserved community,” Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center President Joe Wilkins said. “This new emergency center will provide easier, more convenient access to compassionate emergency care for both walk-in patients and emergency medical services partners in the southern part of our region.”

A rendering shows what the new Bon Secours freestanding emergency department and imaging center could look like when it opens in 2022. (Photo: Bon Secours)

Chesterfield County Fire & EMS Chief Edward “Loy” Senter, Jr. said that conversations to bring an emergency department to the Chester community began nearly a decade ago.

“A significant barrier for many years to effective hospital care has been longer patient transport times to the closest hospital. Central areas of Chester, for example, experience average transport times of nearly 25 minutes,” Senter said. “This is unacceptable for such a densely populated area.”

Senter said that while Fire & EMS, along with the volunteer rescue squad, can achieve rapid response times to the scenes of medical emergencies in the greater Chester area, the key is getting them to a proper emergency center for care in time.

“Through the collective efforts of Bon Secours and Chesterfield County, we are here today to kick off the construction of a facility that will greatly improve healthcare access for residents in this community,” Senter said. “When the new facility becomes operational next year, it will become the closest emergency department to more than 25% of the county’s addresses and will improve patient transport times from approximately 44,000 addresses in the county.”

The one-story facility will house separate public and ambulance entrances, an 11-bed emergency department, a medical imaging center, occupational health and direct admission capabilities. Wilkins said that the center will include CT, MRI, ultrasound and radiography imaging.

The freestanding emergency department and imaging center in Chester will be located approximately 19 miles from St. Francis Medical Center and 16 miles from Bon Secours Southside Medical Center.