In an effort to increase its ability to serve the South Shore, Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip has plans on the table for a huge, $525 million modernization project.

The overhaul will involve a 300,000-square-foot upgrade of some of its existing facilities to increase the capacity of its emergency department, add a 16-operating room surgical suite, and a 36-bed, private room in-patient floor.

According to officials, the footprint of the building will not change.

The hospital is currently at 475,000 square feet. Instead, the idea is to update the existing hospital only. This will be the largest modernization of the hospital since the early 1990s  when it added its North Pavilion.

Hospital president Ruth Hennesey told GreaterBayShore that after working with local officials and local civic groups to identify community health needs and the best way to approach them, Good Sam decided to move forward with the project.

“The decision to move forward with this modernization has been ongoing for several months and shows a significant investment from Catholic Health Services to improve the quality of care that will be offered to the residents on the South Shore of Long Island,” she said.

Currently, Good Sam holds 437 beds. That number is not expected to change after this project is completed, although the work will create more private patient rooms.

The emergency room is frequently overcrowded, officials said, and the proposal calls for private patient areas at the ED that meet or exceed the recommended size for patient care.

The hospital’s operating rooms will also see a significant upgrade.

“We will be able to expand our services to a more modernized operating suite, which will create opportunities to bring new physicians and services to our area,” Hennesey said.

Staffing levels will see a slight increase, but because the work is an enhancement rather than a true expansion, the hospital doesn’t expect to hire a significant number of new employees, aside from a few positions to accommodate the new operating rooms as well as housekeeping and transport staff.

Hennesey estimates that it will take about 30 months to complete the project.

The hospital has $100 million in accumulated funds earmarked for the overhaul. The remaining amount will be financed, Hennesey said.

The project is in the very early stages.

Officials said initial paperwork has been filed with the county health department, but they are still waiting on approvals.

They are hopeful that, if the project is approved, the work will help Good Sam provide more healthcare opportunities for patients.

“Good Sam is the tertiary hub for Catholic Health Services in Suffolk County and we hope that these enhancements will allow us to better serve our patients across the South Shore,” Hennesey said.

No project start date was predicted by the hospital administrators.