St. Peter's Health Begins Construction on New State-of-the-Art Surgical Suite

March 27, 2019


Project includes renovation of operating rooms and introduction of robotics program


Helena, MT— St. Peter’s Health announced the start of an approximately $9 million complete remodel of its Operating Rooms (ORs). The investment includes six state-of-the-art surgical suites and a surgical robotics program, and is estimated to be complete in a year and a half.

According to CEO Wade Johnson, the decision to invest in surgical capabilities is driven by the increasing need for local surgical services as well as the addition of several new specialists to the Helena community. “The rate of change in surgical technology and what we can do for patients is exponential. This will enhance our ability to provide safe, quality care and allow our patients to stay close to home for even more types of surgical services.” 

When completed, the new surgical suite will include:

  • The da Vinci® robot, a tool that local surgeons will use to complete minimally invasive soft-tissue surgical procedures. 
  • Indigo Clean® lighting, which disinfects the ORs 24/7.
  • Touch-screen technology that gives surgeons immediate access to medical records, x-rays, MRIs, 4k video/image quality and more.
  • Communication technology that allows surgeons and others in the OR to communicate in real-time with experts outside the OR, like pathologists. 

“When this project is done, we fully anticipate we will have the most sophisticated ORs in the state,” said St. Peter’s Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Shelly Harkins.

The project will be completed in four main phases. During the first phase, which is expected to take six months, one OR will be fully renovated to allow for the introduction of a surgical robotics program and the da Vinci® surgical robot. St. Peter’s Health representatives anticipate local surgeons who have been trained on the da Vinci® robot will start offering robotic-assisted surgery as early as fall 2019. The subsequent phases will include the completion of the five remaining surgical suites. St. Peter’s Health does not anticipate disruption to current surgical services during the project. The project also adds one additional OR.

“Throughout construction, we will have at least four functional ORs available for elective and emergent surgeries. While this is a complex project, we have a fantastic OR, surgical and sterile processing team who along with many others are working hard to make sure there is minimal disruption for patients,” remarked Harkins.

For surgeons who practice at St. Peter’s Health, the new ORs will make surgery more efficient. Dr. Kerry Hale is an Orthopedic Surgeon who typically spends three days a week in the OR, primarily performing hip and knee replacement surgeries.

“The investment in new equipment in the OR will help us move around more efficiently.  The renovation will expand the size of all of our rooms, bring state-of-the-art technology to St. Peter’s and help make our patient experience even better,” said Hale.

This project will be funded in part by the St. Peter’s Health Foundation. To learn more or make a contribution, visit or call 444-2730.

Additional information on St. Peter’s:

St. Peter’s Health is a system of health care services including a 99-bed acute care hospital, physician clinics, cancer treatment center, behavioral health unit, urgent care clinics, home health and hospice care, dialysis center and ambulance services. St. Peter’s Health serves the Helena region and southwest Montana counties of Lewis and Clark, Broadwater, Jefferson, Meagher and Powell, with a combined population of approximately 97,000 residents. The mission of St. Peter’s Health is to partner with patients and the community to provide exceptional and compassionate health care. For more information, visit