Spectrum Health Announces Helistop Renovation

Butterworth Hospital Helistop Will Be Enlarged and Enhanced

Spectrum Health announced today that it has completed proposed plans to enlarge and enhance the helistop atop Butterworth Hospital.  Aero Med plans to begin using the site by early November, assuming the weather cooperates.

Proposed plans call for an enlarged helistop that can accommodate two helicopters, along with enhancements to safety, fire suppression and wind turbulence control. It features a platform raised several feet above the roof that allows for two 60 foot by 60 foot landing zones.

“We worked with consultants and contractors to develop a plan focused on safety and ease of use for our helistop,” said Matt Van Vranken, president, Spectrum Health Hospital Group/executive vice president, Spectrum Health. “We’re looking forward to completing this project and bringing critically injured and ill patients directly to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital.”

The proposed plan features many enhancements:

  • A raised platform several feet above the existing roof. This makes the helistop slightly larger in area than the roof, allowing for two 60 foot by 60 foot landing zones. The elevated helistop also allows wind traveling up the side of the building to flow underneath the platform, which helps decrease air turbulence.
  • The helistop will have horizontal aluminum safety netting extending several feet beyond the platform.
  • Additional emergency exits. Each landing zone will have an external, fire escape-type metal stairway leading to the floor below. 
  • A fuel-water separator tank that catches all liquid run off from the helistop and blocks fuel from entering storm drains.
  • An upgraded fire-suppression system.  It can be activated from either landing zone, in addition to inside and outside of the structure housing the elevators.

“After a thorough evaluation of helistop sites we believe that the roof of Butterworth Hospital remains the best location for transferring our patients,” said Ralph Rogers, M.D., Aero Med medical director. “This is the best site for quick access to trauma care and other critical care services. Rooftop landing sites are standard across the air medical community.”

Current plans call for building materials and supplies to be lifted to the roof site by October 15. This will require a portion of Crescent Street be closed from approximately September 29 to October 15. The hospital entrance at the corner of Crescent and Ransom Streets will remain open. Construction will take place thru early November. A date for opening the helistop to air traffic has not been set.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, a helistop is an area used or intended to be used for the landing and takeoff of helicopters engaged in dropping off or picking up passengers. A helipad is a surface used for parking helicopters and refueling. Helicopters at the Butterworth Hospital helistops will remain there only as long as it takes to transfer patients. The helistops will not be used for parking or refueling helicopters.

Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system in West Michigan that offers a full continuum of care through its seven hospitals, more than 140 service sites and 500,000-member health plan, Priority Health.  Spectrum Health’s 14,000 employees, 1,500 medical staff members and 2,000 volunteers are committed to delivering the highest quality care to those in medical need.  The organization provided $98.6 million in community benefit during its 2007 fiscal year. Spectrum Health has earned nearly 70 national awards during the past 10 years.