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Multi-million dollar renovations planned at Sikeston hospital

Sunday, February 12, 2006

SIKESTON -- Renovations to Missouri Delta Medical Center such as having all private rooms will help carry the hospital into the future, according to Charles Ancell, chief executive officer for the hospital.

"We are starting a new building campaign," Ancell said. "It will be a multi-

million dollar project."

The state health department licenses the hospital for a specific number of beds so the number of beds won't change. "But they'll be in different locations, different configurations," Ancell explained.

The building project has three phases slated and will affect three floors.

"It will start on the one we call 3-H," Ancell said. He said 3-H is located directly above the obstetrics unit and is about the same size and shape.

3-H has been used only for storage in recent years although it was used as a temporary cafeteria area while the hospital remodeled the kitchen and nutrition area seven years ago.

"We're going to put an outpatient surgery center up there," Ancell said. In addition to the surgical outpatient rooms, there will also be medical inpatient rooms. Ancell said hospital officials are not sure how many total rooms will be built in the unit.

"We kind of a have a ballpark figure," Ancell said. "Each room has to have at least one window - it's a state code."

The second and third phases for this project will be remodeling 2-F and 3-F.

"It will be all private rooms. The reason we're doing 3-H first is so we can move the 2-F and 3-F patients there while we're remodeling 2-F and 3-F," Ancell explained. "2-F and 3-F will be completely gutted and rebuilt."

Ancell said these areas of the hospital have been in service since 1966.

"The plumbing is getting very old, the air conditioning is getting very old," he said. Unlike private residences, these rooms have been used 24 hours per day for 40 years.

"And things have changed a lot over 40 years," Ancell said.

The rooms in these units now are too small for all the equipment that fills today's hospital rooms. "We've been realizing that 2-F and 3-F rooms need to be larger," Ancell said.

Other improvements are planned such as redesigning nursing stations and taking advantage of 3-H's location in relation to the surgery unit.

"It will include a patient elevator directly to surgery, which is directly below 3-

H, so patients can be taken there without ever having to be in a hall," Ancell said.

The hospital has hired Archimages, an architectural/planning firm based in St. Louis, and local architect Robert Stearnes for the renovations.

"This will be a major project - it will take us two to three years to get this all done," Ancell said.

Delta Regional Authority has provided $185,000 in seed money to "to help us defray the cost of the architectural fee," Ancell said. As for construction costs, "we anticipate we will pay for that operation," he said.

The hospital may even have enough assets available that a loan won't be needed, having planned for the renovations.

Ancell said the project has been one of the hospital board's major goals.

"We just felt like we have to do it to prepare for the future," he said. "I think most hospitals today are going toward private rooms."

When the project is completed, 2-F and 3-F will only have private rooms. "I just feel like it is a better situation for patient care," Ancell said.

Sharing a room and bathroom with another patient can make some patients feel less comfortable, according to Ancell.

Additionally, private rooms enable health care providers to discuss issues with patients without strangers hearing the conversation.