Texas Health Harris Methodist Stephenville Hospital shoveled their next step in improving an already great healthcare facility Thursday morning by breaking ground on its next project - a brand new Emergency Department. 

"The new ED will enable us to better meet the growing community of Stephenville," said Chris Leu, president of the hospital. "Unlike a lot of rural communities that are contracting and getting smaller, Stephenville and Erath County are still continuing to grow and with that growing population comes an increasing demand for healthcare services."

The new ED will be significantly larger than the existing facility and will focus on improving wait times and seeing more patients. The current ED has eight exam rooms in 3,200 square feet and the new building is expected to have 12 exam rooms and 9,500 square feet of clinical space.

"We'll continue to carry a completely electronic health record system and the layout of the facility is designed from first-hand input from those in the ED," said Leu. "The exam rooms will be larger and they'll all be built in a loop. The doctors and nurses requested this so they can see all of the patient rooms and have continual visual with the patients they're treating."

The more than $14 million project is expected to begin in the next few weeks.

"We're all very excited about this project being underway this summer," Leu said. "We've been talking about the idea for a couple of years now and we're finally making it happen. It's great knowing the project will be completed some time next summer."