Although construction has been visible outside of Archbold Memorial Hospital for several months as the patient-focused North Tower takes shape, changes will soon be seen inside the hospital as well.

Beginning in mid-April, the main entrance and lobby at Archbold will close for about six months as the hospital takes on several projects. According to Archbold President and CEO Perry Mustian, several items are slated for improvement, including some related to current fire safety codes. A temporary entrance will be clearly marked and visible to the right-hand side of the visitor parking lot.

Additional smoke barrier walls are being installed on the first floor near the lobby. These will not be noticeable to visitors, but they will divide a presently large area of the first floor into smaller “smoke compartments” for better containment of smoke should a fire occur. Several areas around the lobby and adjacent offices also will have sprinklers installed for additional fire safety.

At the same time, structural changes will be made to provide a path to the new North Tower that ties in well with that project and enhances facilities for visitors. Leaks in the lobby ceiling will be addressed, and improvements are planned for the lobby restrooms, Auxiliary Gift Shop and information desk, although some of these will come in later phases after the North Tower is completed next year.

 “It’s an exciting and busy time at Archbold, with a number of construction and renovation projects going on across facilities,” Mustian acknowledges. “Many of these projects reflect ongoing maintenance and retooling of areas for different uses - areas that in some cases are over 50 and 80 years old,” he said.

 “The North Tower project, the lobby work, and the Central Energy Plant are different, though. These represent a fundamental commitment to provide our patients, our staff, and our physicians with modern, comfortable healthcare facilities, designed to accommodate the latest in technology and the latest approaches to quality care. At some point you can no longer accomplish that in 50 and 80-year old parts of your facility. Our patients who may have experienced a small patient room, or families who might have felt crowded in our intensive care unit waiting area or emergency department, understand the connection between our facilities and their experience at a critical time in their lives.”

“It’s not our facilities that make Archbold special,” added Mustian. “Caring, skilled staff and physicians make Archbold special. But it means a lot when the physical appearance and layout of our facilities live up to the caliber of staff and the quality of care that is delivered within them. That is our goal with every investment that we make.”

While the lobby is closed, patients and visitors will enter the hospital through a new entrance on the right side of the front parking lot. The large structure beside the visitor parking is a passageway for pipes and other utilities from the Central Energy Plant, but it also provides a covered drop-off and walkway to the new entrance at ground level. An elevator will bring guests from the ground level to the first floor level of the hospital. Even after the main lobby and entrance is reopened, this new entrance will provide an option for guests who prefer to enter the hospital at grade level.

The Auxiliary Snack Shop will remain open during the renovation, but will be accessed by a door from a back hallway. The Auxiliary Gift Shop and the Information Desk will be relocated in the interim near the temporary entrance.

Archbold’s lobby project will begin in mid-April. The North Tower, including a new Emergency Department, Surgery Department, Intensive Care Unit, and three inpatient nursing floors, is slated for completion in May of 2012.

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