Big changes at the medical center

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 1, 2007

By Brie Cohen, staff writer

Just when you thought there was a snowstorm, Albert Lea Medical Center whips up a cabana filled with workers adorned in flowered leis to greet and transport patients and visitors.

This is one of the ways ALMC is trying to bring a smile to patients&8217; and visitors&8217; faces as it begins phase two of its expansion project.

Email newsletter signup

The second phase of the expansion begins Friday and everyone coming or going into the building will be affected, according to ALMC officials. The main entrance and the main staircase will be closed and everyone needs to use the temporary entrance.

On Friday at 6 p.m. until Monday at 6 a.m., people will need to use the Fountain Centers entrance. Beginning Monday at 6 a.m. everyone will need to use the temporary entrance that the ALMC as built at the south corner of the clinic building. This entrance will be used until the end of the phase two construction &8212; about July.

This temporary entrance will have only one lane for driving, so vehicles will not be able to park in the lane. There will be security staff and the staff transporters, wearing leis, available to help wheel patients to their destinations if needed.

Another change, a permanent one, will be the number of parking spaces available in the main lot. Parking in this lot will decrease about 40 percent, Ginny Larson, clinic administrator, said.

However, parking will be available in the lot across Fountain Street, which has about 100 stalls, Boldt Fields Superintendent Joe Larson said. The main lot will have 20 new short-term parking spots.

All of this hub-bub about entering and exiting is to make everything easier in the end. Phase two will expand the first floor to make room for the new pharmacy, eye clinic, gift shop, cultural services, specialty fittings, durable medical equipment, patient accounts and health resource center.

All these things will be easier for patients and visitors to find because they will be more in the open and visible, Ginny Larson said.

The ALMC plans for all of these elements to be in place at the end of the expansion project in the first quarter of 2008.

So far, the roof is completed, which was part of the first phase of the expansion. Joe Larson said that project was finished last Thursday, right before the big storm hit. The crane was folded up and taken away yesterday.