Wed, Mar 1, 2023 at 03:29 PM
Visitors to Marshall Medical South and those traveling on Hwy 431 have watched a massive expansion underway for two years. The project is expected to be complete and open to the public this summer.
The hallmark of the construction is a 64-room bed tower that will replace the same number of rooms built in the 1970s-80s. Alongside it is a large glass atrium that will become the new main entrance for Marshall South, giving it a modern update and appearance.
“It’s changing the whole landscape of the hospital,” said MMC President Chris Rush, putting the price tag at $61.3 million. “It’s a big investment.”
And it’s a big space. The concourse, which is flooded with natural light from expansive windows, will house a new cafeteria, coffee shop, gift shop and waiting areas. The cafeteria and coffee shop’s dining areas with tables and chairs will flow into patient waiting areas, giving the space an open, airy feel.
“It will be a nice place for families,” said Executive Director of Support Services Bill Smith.
The space will include a check-in and consult room for outpatient surgery with a waiting area. It also features much-needed meeting facilities.
The two-floor bed tower features 32 rooms on each floor divided into 16 rooms on each end. Each section will be supported by its own nursing staff.
Patient rooms are spacious with an area for nurses to care for patients and plenty of space for family members, so they won’t get in each other’s way. Visitors will have sofa sleepers, recliners and tables available to use. Each room has its own charting station so nurses can chart there instead of doing it back at the nursing station.
“We need space for the patient and space for families,” Smith said.
Rooms are modern and attractive with a wall of windows looking out over the Marshall South campus. Many rooms have a view of the walking trail at the Wellness Center. Large, tiled bathrooms are designed to accommodate a wheelchair and have the capability to become a shower room if needed. The new rooms are twice as big as the old ones and they are larger than the average hospital room, according to Smith.
Updated technological capabilities – such as extra oxygen ports – elevates each new patient room to the level of critical care for those with life-threatening injuries and illnesses.
Marshall South’s ICU has been expanded to 18 beds and renovated into a modern facility. Safety improvements were included in the upgrade, such as back-up plans for emergencies like a power outage. The design included additional storage space and a double-wall structure that helps with noise control in each room and provides more patient privacy. Several new negative pressure rooms were added, which can be used for patients who require isolation.
In Sept. 2021 the Alabama Health Planning and Development Agency approved the project, which represents the largest construction project on Sand Mountain in more than a decade. Exterior renovations of $1.4 million have already upgraded the emergency entrance and replaced aging windows with energy efficient ones along the front of the 65-year-old facility. An additional 113 parking spaces on the north side of the hospital and a vehicle bridge have been completed.
Marshall South opened in 1956 with the name Boaz-Albertville Hospital as a 35-bed facility with 35 employees. Today it has 150 beds with 975 employees. More than 40,000 patients are treated in the Level III Emergency Department each year.