A hospital that serves the Shenango Valley plans to make a $20 million investment in its future.

Allegheny Health Network officials said the money will be used to expand the Grove City emergency department, as well as other improvements. 

Among the biggest improvements will be almost doubling the number of beds in the emergency room, which is a Level Four Trauma Center, and making the waiting room larger.

AHN President Dr. David Tupponce said this is the biggest construction project the hospital has done in decades, with plans of expanding the hospital an extra 6,000 square feet. 

"A lot of rural hospitals tend to be really struggling finally these days," Tupponce said, "So we're happy to be able to continue to invest and provide these services to the community."

He said they also plan on adding a behavioral health crises room in the emergency room. 

The hospital also wants to put focus on technology in the healthcare field, future and current, with plans to add more "negative-pressure" rooms in the emergency department which keep infectious diseases from spreading by having lower air pressure inside the rooms.

"Those rooms are going to have the capability to isolate people that may have infections either known or unknown that we don't want to pass onto staff or other patients," he said. 

Part of that $20 million investment will be funded by $500,000 recently granted by the state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.

AHN is still working to obtain the remainder of the funding which will also pay for the future expansion of the Level Four Trauma Center which provides enhanced care to injured patients in rural areas in and around Mercer County.

An AHN spokesperson tells 21 News the work is expected to begin next year.

Work is set to start next year.