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Hospital planning $7 million upgrades

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An elderly person is looking for the main entrance but is guessing which set of doors to use.

A majority of people coming to Johnson Memorial Hospital assume they will find a receptionist sitting at a welcome desk behind the front doors to Building 1155. After all, that entrance is the closest to the area where most people park and has a large canopy over the drop-off site.

But the actual main entrance to the hospital is tucked away in a corner next to the emergency room entrance, to the west. Because of consistent confusion, the hospital is planning a $7 million project that in part will create a more distinct main entrance.

A new cafeteria that will cost about $2.5 million and improvements to the heating and cooling system are also part of the project.

No loans will be needed for the construction, which will be paid for with savings. Construction will begin in September and take 18 months to complete, Chief Executive Officer Larry Heydon said.

“We feel our entrance creates confusion,” Heydon said. “We think in the end this project will better identify our main entrance. Our main entrance is kind of hidden in a corner, and we want a more well-defined entrance.”

The new main entrance will be moved to Building 1155, which is where Heydon said a lot of people already think it’s located. A new sign will be put on that building to signify that it serves as the hospital’s main entrance. Additional parking spaces and landscaping will be added in that area, Heydon said.

A new entrance is also being made to continue with the recent trends of modernizing buildings and services. The hospital expanded its surgical center last year, adding two operating rooms, expanding the two existing operating rooms, adding a new lobby and waiting area and adding post-surgery recovery rooms as part of a $14 million project.

One of the most outdated parts of the hospital will also be getting a new look. The current cafeteria, which is on the far east part of the building, creates more of a walk for patients who aren’t very mobile. The current single-line cafeteria is in a part of the hospital that was built in the 1940s, Heydon said.

The new cafeteria will be located in the center of the hospital and will be easier for patients, doctors and visitors to use. The area will offer multiple stations with different types of foods. Wireless Internet access will be available in the new cafeteria along with multiple seating options, such as traditional tables or counter seating, Heydon said.

A portion of Building 1101 — where the current cafeteria is located — will be demolished and replaced with a retention pond and walking trail.

The helipad will be moved farther west on the hospital property. The landing site is being moved to allow for additional parking spaces to be added near the future main entrance, Heydon said.

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