Triple the amount of space will be provided in the emergency room at the Sevier Valley Hospital through a new $600,000 expansion. Administrator Gary Beck announced ground has been broken east of the current emergency entrance.

The addition of the new facility is long overdue, the administrator said. Existing emergency department space will be converted to expand radiological and surgical services, an area of about 700 square feet. Some inconvenience will be felt during construction, but the staff can handle it, he said.The addition will add 2,100 square feet. It will include a two-bed trauma room, an examination room and a curtain-separated room with three beds. The addition will provide better privacy for patients, Beck said.

He reported that last year's emergency room visits at the hospital totaled 6,764.