News

YRMC Preps for Major Construction

2013-06-22 20:18:02

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Some major changes are coming to Yuma Regional Medical Center very soon as the hospital embarks on several construction projects at the same time that include building a patient parking garage and continuing efforts to prepare for the start of the new Emergency Department.

It’s going to a busy, challenging several months but in the end it will be worth it, said Pat Walz, YRMC president and CEO.

The first activity will be erecting a very large fence Thursday and Friday around the existing patient parking lot on the west side of the hospital campus. Then, construction will start July 1 on a three-level, 390-space parking garage that will replace the parking lot.

The parking garage won’t add significantly more parking spaces but will improve patient access by eliminating the challenges associated with the slope and layout of the existing parking lot, Walz noted. The parking garage will have elevators and the top floor will be level with the main entrance to the hospital so people no longer will have to climb the steep incline.

It is slated for completion in early 2014. But in the meantime, developing the parking garage presents its own challenges for patients, not the least of which is where to park.

That will involve a juggling act, with the landscape changing as construction progresses.

Walz noted that the employee parking garage off Avenue A is only about 60 spaces full as many choose to park in the lot on the southwest side of the campus. Those employees will be moved to the parking garage, freeing up the parking lot for patients.

To help patients get from there to their destination in the hospital, YRMC has put out an appeal for more volunteers to drive carts, direct traffic and assist people in getting from place to place. Maps also will be available.

During the especially busy months, employees may even need to park off campus, freeing up some space in the employee parking garage for patients. People are also encouraged to ride YCAT, the public transit system, if feasible.

“We’re working to minimize the impact on patients,” Walz said. “That’s our first priority.”

While that is going on, demolition will begin on the interior portion of the east wing of the hospital. The oldest part of the hospital built in 1958, the site has been identified for the new Emergency Department. But to get to the point where the wing could be demolished, a number of “make way” projects had to be completed first to move the services and offices now located there.

That included completing the remaining two floors of the patient tower and moving the dialysis suite there. Outpatient services also will be temporarily located in the tower but will move to the current cancer center across the street once the new cancer center is built. And Children’s Rehabilitation will move soon to a new building in Tuscany Plaza.

It’s critical to get those services moved as they’re in the center of the east wing where cranes will be brought in to start on the demolition and site work for the future Emergency Department, Walz said.

At the same time, construction will begin on a new support services building on the south side of the campus for offices that now occupy another portion of the east wing slated for demolition.

Meantime, work also will begin on a loop road that will wrap around the south side of the campus with access at 24th Street and Avenue A to improve the flow of traffic.

All these things need to be done by early 2014 so construction can start on the new Emergency Department to have it ready by the fall of 2016, Walz said.

And, oh yes, construction will be starting soon on the new cancer center, slated for completion by June 2014.

To stay up to date on the construction, visit www.yumaregional.org/improvementprojects.