After more than a year of development, Texoma Medical Center is ready to open the doors to its new 48-bed emergency room later this week. The new emergency room, which will hold open with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, is the first phase of a $50 million expansion of the hospital to come online.

The new expansion comes as the hospital is approaching capacity and is in need of additional emergency space, patient beds and other additional facilities. The new emergency room will effectively double the capacity and size of the hospital's emergency department, officials previously said.

“We are extremely excited about this,” TMC CEO Ron Seal said Monday. “It is very needed and we are happy to have it open.”

Seal said the hospital will officially start taking patients in the new emergency room Friday morning.

The hospital relocated to the corner of FM 691 and U.S. Highway 75 in 2009 as an eight-story hospital with six operational floors. Since opening, the final two stories have been built out in 2014 and 2015, due to high growth and use. In December 2016, officials announced the construction of a new four-story tower that can be expanded with four additional floors.

Seal said this growth has left the hospital in need of a large emergency room to meet the demand. With its current space constraints, Seal said patients have been left waiting in the hallways to be seen.

When the expansion was first announced, officials anticipated that the expansion would open in January, but poor weather early in the project delayed it by about 30 days. However, Seal said these delays were slight compared to the scale of the project.

The new emergency department will feature 48 beds, up from 24 in the current department, with five specially designated for minor emergency and fast-track services. The department will also feature two triage rooms.

Once the transition to the new emergency room is made, Seal said the current department will be renovated and converted into a new 16-bed chest pain unit. This new department is expected to be opened later this summer, he said.

The other floors and departments are expected to be opened on a staggered basis over the next few weeks and months, Seal said. The next phase of the project, a 20-patient ICU, is expected to open by the end of March on the second floor with additional medical-surgery beds expected to open on the third floor in mid-April. The final phase of the current project, a neonatal ICU, will open on May 1.

With the initial announcement of the new tower, officials also announced plans to build a helicopter pad and hangar to the hospital Seal said there was no current date for when this would be available.

This part of the expansion comes as the hospital plans to pursue designation as the only level 2 trauma center between the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and Oklahoma City. Seal said he feels it will be at least a year before the hospital has this designation. However, he noted that the hospital has successfully treated level-2 patients who were unable to be transported to DFW.

“We want to get everything open and working smoothly before we move onto trauma,” Seal said.