Posted on March 27, 2019
Project part of multimillion dollar hospital renovation plan
By Madeleine Leroux
Officials from Union County, El Dorado and the Medical Center of South Arkansas gathered Tuesday morning to get the first look at the newly remodeled second floor wing.
The hospital is currently undergoing a multimillion dollar renovation, with phase I of the renovations projected to be complete by summer.
Phase I includes five projects, three of which have now been completed, including the Robert C. Tommey Conference Center, which held its grand opening in November, and the remodel to the cafeteria, now Cafe 870, which was also completed in November.
Unveiled Tuesday was the renovation to the second floor patient rooms, which MCSA CEO Scott Street said would be the surgical recovery unit, where patients arrive after undergoing surgery.
The renovation is still ongoing in the third floor patient rooms and Catherine Noyes, marketing director, said they are expected to be completed in May. Crews are still working on the remodel of the lobby entrance, which will have a grand opening April 23. The gift shop, which was located where the new lobby will be, has been moved to a location down the hall and Noyes said more innovations are on the way. Also included in phase 1 are renovations of basement offices and expansions of the emergency room, both of which should be completed by mid-May.
Street said that, so far, the hospital has committed to spending about $9 million total in renovation projects in 2018 and 2019 to date. He added that another $5 million to $6 million would be spent in renovation projects this year.
“This is the first five units that we’re renovating over the next two and a half years,” Street said of surgical recovery unit. “A lot of organizations are in the middle of change, and we are in a huge way.”
The renovated wing of the second floor includes 11 patient rooms, plus two others that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Noyes said the renovations emphasize patient privacy, pointing to the wing’s new private elevator that will take patients from surgery to the renovated wing without having to be in any public areas of the hospital.
Paul Cadiere, the project’s general contractor with McInnis Brothers Construction out of Minden, Louisiana, said it took about four months to complete, noting some issues that had to be resolved at the start, which is what led to some needed remediation.
“When we started, that wing was gutted,” Cadiere said. “There was nothing. … It’s been a great project and went fairly fast.”
Cadiere said they used mostly local subcontractors on the project, which helped to keep costs down as they don’t have to cover any travel expenses.
“One of the things we were fortunate on is that we had a lot of local participation,” Cadiere said. “We’ve actually hired some laborers here locally.”
El Dorado Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer congratulated hospital leadership on its commitment to local businesses, adding that it’s one more way to help attract people to the area and keep them.
“It’s great for El Dorado and it’s great for our economy,” Smith-Creer said.
Margaret Holzem, director of the Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center, said the renovation is just another way the hospital is trying to serve its patients in the best way possible.
“We’re just hoping to make the hospital a better place for our patients at all times, in all ways,” Holzem said.
Holzem said patients often become like family members, so the staff is very much invested in serving the community. She emphasized that especially with the newly renovated wing, saying it is all for the patients and the community.
During the grand opening Tuesday, Street thanked all in attendance for being the community partners who helped to make the project a reality. The renovations are all part of MCSA’s destination health care initiative, which seeks to provide health and specialty care to South Arkansas residents. Destination health care, also known as medical tourism, essentially seeks to make a hospital or community a place where people come specifically for medical services. MCSA has been working toward that goal with investments in the hospital facility and programs, as well as through alliances with major hospitals across the state.
“I think true, quality progress is taken one step at a time and so we’re taking one step at a time,” Street said. “This is our first step.”
Madeleine Leroux can be reached at 870-862-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.