LEWISBURG – ‘It’s like walking into a hotel.’ That was just one of the many favorable observations during the grand opening of the new PRIME wing at Evangelical Community Hospital, “Someone said to me when they were touring they felt like this is a place you come to get better, and I thought that’s a terrific way to put it. I think when you go in the rooms, you’ll see spaces that delineate between the care-giver, the patient, and the family. We try to look at it from every angle.”
That’s Evangelical President and CEO Kendra Aucker as she and the hospital staff opened phase one of its new wing Tuesday. It now allows every patient a private room and bathroom. The new wing will also begin serving as the new main entrance for in-patients. Public virtual tours of the facility begin Thursday and about 50-60 patients will move into the new wing Saturday.
Aucker says patients and visitors will notice bright colors on hospital walls, even in patient rooms, and other new calming features, “You’ll see doors that slide, which are the first doors in the state to be made like that, which meet the fire code, but it allows a door not to swing open into the room so that you have more quiet. I think it’s a very welcoming, healing place and its very much centered on the patient and getting better.”
But the COVID-19 pandemic did provide a small bump in the road, delaying the project’s completion by four to six weeks from its original mid-August date; this after three positive cases among workers occurred in late May.
Joe Mastrippolito is President of the hospital’s construction partner, Quandel Construction, “I think the biggest challenge was just managing the safety during the process. We did shut down for a little bit, came up with a good safety plan and just managing people’s safety through the process. The other piece was getting all the materials and that was a struggle because of all the factories shutting down.”
But the pandemic has now made the hospital more prepared to handle the pandemic with the addition of the new wing – that now includes 28 isolation rooms for patients with any respiratory illness. Aucker says the new wing would take COVID-19 patients too should another surge occur.
The new PRIME wing also features a fourth floor for orthopedic patients, a meditation chapel, memorial/mediation garden, and much more. Aucker says phase two of the new wing will be a newly renovated ICU, using the old orthopedic space on the second floor. That portion is expected to be completed by the end of next June. Click to see a photo gallery and Facebook Live of the event.