Hospital Expansion Ahead Of Schedule

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Beyond tape-sealed doors near the A-Wing nurses' station, workers are transforming a 5,000-square-foot, steel skeleton into Payson Regional Medical Center's new patient wing.

Hospital officials expect to tear down the tape, which keeps construction dust from filtering into patients' rooms, when the building is finished in October four months ahead of schedule.

Just west of the patient wing on Ponderosa Street, workers are building its twin a 5,000-square-foot obstetrics wing, which project superintendent Rick Weire expects to deliver the first week in December, a month ahead of schedule.

"The new obstetrics building will have five labor/delivery/recovery/postpartum suites," PRMC CEO Russell Judd said. "That means that women can stay in one room from the time they go into labor until the time they're released to go home."

Right now, women deliver in one room and recover in one of three semi-private rooms, he said.

The new wing also will have a special suite for cesarean-section births.

When the $5.1-million construction project is finished, all the patients in PRMC's B-Wing, which was built in the 1950s, will be moved to the new buildings in A-Wing, providing, at long last, centralized patient care facilities.

Currently, hospital operations are divided across campus between the two wings. Obstetrics, patient overflow rooms and the business offices are in B-Wing and emergency room care, intensive care, x-ray, pediatrics, laboratory services, surgery services and all other medical services are in A-Wing.

That's a long gurney ride from obstetrics to x-ray.

When the project is finished in December, the B-Wing will be converted into business offices and all patient-care services will be provided in A-Wing.

The kitchen, which will remain in B-Wing, will be rebuilt from the ground up, to provide faster meals for patients and cafeteria-style dining for visitors and hospital staff members. Renovations should be completed by the first of September, officials said.

Although the hospital construction project is ahead of schedule and within budget, the Main Street extension project, which hospital officials are trying to facilitate, has been slow going.

If all goes to plan, Main Street will be extended east of Beeline Highway right to the hospital's front door.

"We've been working with the developer," Judd said, "but it's primarily out of our hands. We're just trying to facilitate things between the property owners."

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