PUBLISHED: 3:52 PM on Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Bartlett Regional Hospital moves into new wing

Photo by Amanda Gragert
  Gov. Sarah Palin tours the new wing of Bartlett Regional Hospital emergency room with her daughter Piper.
Beaming as brightly as new parents, nurses in the obstetrics unit of the new wing in Bartlett Regional Hospital proudly showed off their new digs at an open house Wednesday, Feb. 7. The new wing cost about $25 million and is the first phase of a two-phase project. The new wing includes the emergency department, diagnostic imaging, critical care, obstetrics and mental health.

The obstetrics unit on the second floor, called Bartlett Beginnings, features private rooms for labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum. There also are two private rooms for mothers recovering from a C-section where babies may room-in with mothers after the procedure.

"Bartlett Beginnings is a pretty good place, but we've outgrown it.

"We're ready for the new digs," said obstetrics nurse Catherine Carter. "In the LDRP rooms the mothers can relax and feel as at home as you can in the hospital."

Obstetrics nurse Agnes Vu showed off a bed in the new unit, which disassembles for delivery and goes back together for recovery.

"The beds are amazing," Vu said. "It's so nice for the mothers."

In the critical care unit on the second floor, a new monitoring system is set up to allow nurses to keep a watchful eye on patients. Nurse Therese Thibodeau said another highlight is the new waiting room and loveseats that convert to a six-foot bed.

"The families can now stay here and feel comfortable," Thibodeau said. "It's so bright and we've got windows. We've been living in a dark area, and we're excited to be here."

Lloyd Coogan of Coogan Construction is the contractor for the project and said seeing the finished wing was nice to see his work come together.

"It is a really different perspective from working on it," Coogan said. "Seeing everything in place since we've finished it takes on a whole new look."

The third floor mental health unit is more than 7,000 square feet larger than the former facilities. It has 12 private rooms, an exercise and meditation room and more common area space.

The first floor houses the emergency department, which has five exam rooms, three trauma rooms and one room for minor surgery, orthopedics, ear-nose-throat, behavioral emergency, isolation and patient decontamination, and the diagnostic imaging department.

Interim CEO Jim Richardson said the opening of the new wing is the result of years of planning.

"This is a joyful occasion with many years of planning and teamwork," he said. "It's not the end, just a stop in the journey."

Following completion of moving equipment and patients into the new wing, which will take about three weeks, phase two of the renovations will begin. While the $20 million renovation takes place, the front lobby of the hospital will be closed. The new front entrance will be by the emergency department on the south side of the building.

"Bear with us for two years while we do construction," Richardson said. He said a team is in place to plan for and oversee the relocation efforts of the new wing.

"There's always what-if scenarios," Richardson said. "People need to be aware of the enormous effort that's taking place. People have gone through the process of getting moved down to the staples and paper supplies. They've got it down to each detail."