Daily Star photo/KATIE ROHMAN Dr. Loren Hamel, president and CEO of Lakeland HealthCare, speaks at the open house for the new Lakeland Medical Suites in Niles Wednesday.

Niles’ Lakeland Medical Suites opens

Published 11:10pm Wednesday, June 27, 2012

It’s all in the details.

That’s what Lakeland HealthCare and MPA Architects, of South Bend, had in mind when constructing the new Lakeland Medical Suites in Niles.

“The stairwells are enjoyable,” said Dr. Loren Hamel, president and CEO of Lakeland, after climbing to the second floor Wednesday.

The wide, ribbed stairs, high windows for privacy, heated, reclining chairs for chemotherapy patients and sensor lighting are some of the features that focus on efficiency, aesthetics and patient comfort and privacy.

“Those kind of details matter,” Hamel said.

Tours were available at the community open house Wednesday for the 42,000-square-foot facility, located at 42 N. St. Joseph Ave., Niles, across from Lakeland Community Hospital.

The public was welcome to walk the three-story building and attend the Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event, where hospital and Chamber officials spoke.

“We are just so excited for the opportunity it gives us to bring new physicians into the community,” said Warren White, vice president of Lakeland physician practices.

“It also allows us to bring additional sub-specialists in.”

Dr. Robert Ward, medical director of the Stroke Center, located his practice to Niles in 1991. His office is now on the third floor.

“I’m one of the few independent practices here,” he said. Others are affiliated with Lakeland.

Dr. Michael Schuhknecht, medical director of bariatric services, is on the first floor.

“Seventy percent of the people in the community are overweight, if not obese,” said Schuhknecht, calling the building the “best of the best.”

“We not only have the best building in town, we have the best doctors filling it,” he said.

Among the specialty services offered in the building is the Lakeland Center for Wound Care and Hyberbaric Medicine, which relocated from Lakeland Specialty in Berrien Center. It opened Monday.

Julian Lewiecki, program director, said it specializes in skin grafts, treatments and products to protect and heal tissue and hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Lakeland is one of the only systems in the region that has hyperbaric chambers; a facility closed in Kalamazoo. The system obtained them four years ago, and located the therapy from Lakeland Specialty in Berrien Center to Lakeland Medical Suites.

The center can service eight patients per day. Each patient undergoes a two-hour session in a chamber — which resemble large pneumatic tubes used at bank drive-ups — to treat bone infections, diabetes, gas gangrene, severe anemia, burns and other diagnoses.

Lakeland broke ground on Lakeland Medical Suites in May 2011. It was estimated to cost about $7.3 million for the building alone.

Visit lakelandhealth.org.

The new Lakeland Medical Suites includes:

• Ambulatory Infusion Center, Niles

• Berrien Regional Associates in Neurology

• Great Lakes Gastroenterology

•  Lakeland Cancer Specialists

•  Lakeland Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine

•  Lakeland Comprehensive Weight Loss Center

•  Lakeland Ear, Nose and Throat

• Lakeland General Surgery

•  Lakeside Diabetes & Endocrinology Center

• Lakeside Urology

• Southwestern Medical Clinic, Niles — Center for Women’s Health

• Van’s Medical Equipment of Lakeland

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