By GWEN SISSON
Tuesday’s ribbon cutting ceremony for what will be known as the West Tower and Parking Deck is the completion of Phase 1 of a comprehensive update to OCH Regional Medical Center.
Ribbon-cutting ceremonies are set for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, with tours of the new addition available until 6 p.m.
“Unquestionably, our employees and staff physicians will greatly appreciate the new facilities and the work-friendly atmosphere they provide,” said OCH Administrator/CEO A.C. “Sonny” Kelly. “The increased space and improved design will assist them tremendously in taking care of our patients.”
OCH Chief Nursing Officer Martha Fulcher, RNC, MSN, said the staff is excited about the entire experience.
“The modern nursing stations, spacious medication rooms, accommodating patient rooms, and staff lounge and conference rooms for each nursing unit are wonderful additions that will make their jobs easier and more enjoyable,” Fulcher said. “And, I, for one, am going to enjoy the new ‘Daily Dose’ coffee bar in the front lobby on a daily basis.”
Associate Administrator and Chief Financial Officer for OCH Regional Medical Center, Richard G. Hilton, said the new construction has been a needed update to help OCH Regional Medical Center provide the most up-to-date services for patients in Oktibbeha and the surrounding counties.
“The ribbon cutting ceremony will be the culmination of a long overdue Hospital project that will be a tremendous benefit to our patients and the community to which OCH Regional Medical Center serves,” said Hilton.
Final comprehensive planning for the project started immediately at the end of 2008, and construction started in March 2010 of the Four Story West Tower, featuring the new Women’s and Children’s Center on Fourth Floor with eight labor / delivery / recovery patient rooms, two C-Section rooms, a nursery, and the parking garage to accommodate 235 parking spaces.
Phase 1 added 71,400 sq. ft. to the hospital, with 230 sq. ft. per patient room — more than doubling the patient room size.
The total cost for Phase 1 comes in at $26.2 million, with $20.2 for construction of the West Tower and Parking Deck, $1.7 million for architect and engineering costs, $2 million for fixed equipment, and $2.3 million for non-fixed equipment in the new space.
“The medical staff as well as the nursing and ancillary staff and other caregivers are going to enjoy having much more space while providing care in the rooms,” Hilton said. “The larger rooms will be able to accommodate better the medical equipment that has to be brought into the rooms. Transferring patients to and from the rooms will be much easier with the increased patient room size.”
Hilton said construction of the Phase 1 West Tower went about as well as expected. The project was completed six weeks ahead of schedule.
Hilton said there have been no unexpected major or minor negative surprises throughout Phase 1 construction. He said one major accomplishment that was realized with planning was a gain of 85 parking spaces with the new parking deck from the original plan of 150 spaces.
“Parking is always a problem,” Hilton said. “These additional spaces will help to meet parking demands. You can never have too much available parking space.
With patient, visitor and employee demand for parking, the new parking deck has helped to regain the parking spaces lost plus more spaces needed with the construction of the West Tower.”
Phase 2 will begin mid-June with the renovation of the older building.
Darlene Comish of OCH Regional Medical Center said the process of moving services to the new building will begin Wednesday.
Hilton said there will be some minor inconveniences as the renovation of the older building gets under way.
“As with any construction or renovation project there are some changes and inconveniences to be expected,” Hilton said. “Hospital and medical staff and patients will see a slight inconvenience in patient flow on 2nd, 3rd and 4th Floors due to alternate routes to be taken around the areas being renovated for 30 patient rooms and six ICU rooms.”
Hilton said the front entrance of the hospital will be re-opened this week after the elimination of the temporary ramp that has been used for the past eight months.
Hospital officials estimate Phase 2 to continue through the end of 2011.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part two of a two part series on the new West Tower and Parking Deck at OCH Regional Medical Center.)