KEARNEY — Thanks in part to $2 million anonymous donation, CHI Health Good Samaritan will break ground at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday for a new Emergency Department.

The ceremony will take place just outside the Emergency Room doors on the east side of the hospital campus at 10 E. 31st St.

Completion of the 16,000-square-foot, $13 million expansion is planned for spring 2021. The new ER will use existing facility space, including parts of the current 7,500-square-foot ER, which was built in 1994.

Ambulances will still bring in patients through doors on the building’s east side, but the main entrance will be through the hospital’s primary entrance at 10 E. 31st St.

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The project will double the size of Good Samaritan’s ER and include private exam rooms, additional trauma and procedure rooms, a new entrance and more.

As requested by the anonymous donor, the new space will be named the Kenton L. Shaffer Emergency Care Center at CHI Health Good Samaritan.

During the ceremony, staff will unfurl a large banner featuring the new name of the emergency care center. The banner will be displayed during the construction process.

“This news is a real celebration,” Michael Schnieders, president of Good Samaritan, said. “Our trauma team is top notch. They have developed an advanced program that operates in space the department long ago outgrew. The financial gift, in addition to dedicated capital funding, allows us to create an Emergency Room of the future that will directly benefit our patients as well as our physicians and staff.”

“Dr. Shaffer’s pioneering vision, determination and dedication to the tiniest of patients helped build the foundation for Good Samaritan’s NICU, one of the first of its kind in central Nebraska. No matter the hour or weather conditions, he would drive out to care for sick babies,” Randy DeFreece, foundation president, said. “Even in his retirement he continues to help, volunteering his time and expertise at HelpCare Clinic.”

Until construction is complete, Good Sam’s Emergency Department will operate out of its current location.

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