By Wayne Allen
Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) has several construct projects going throughout the community, each aimed at enhancing the level of health care offered to the community.
Justin Clark, administrative director of Plant Operations at SOMC, oversees all maintenance operations, new construction of building and facilities at SOMC.
SOMC broke ground earlier this year for an expansion project on its south campus in Portsmouth.
“Next, the Life Center and across from the existing urgent care, we’re in the process of building a 50,000 square foot multi-story health care facility,” Clark said. “This is an exciting project for us, because it’s going to offer a lot of different services in one place. It also represents the initial shift for us in how we deliver urgent care services within our healthcare system.”
He said with the opening of the new facility on the south campus, SOMC will have urgent and family care.
“Up to this point we’ve offered urgent care at one location and family or primary care is a separate location. We’re now going to offer urgent and family care in one location,” Clark said. “For you, as a patient, what this means is you will not need an appointment to see your primary care physician. You will be able to walk in as if it’s an urgent care system, but be treated as it’s a primary care visit.”
Project contractors have begun assembling, what will be the frame of the new facility.
“The project in Portsmouth is moving along really well, right on schedule. This is the part of construction where people will start to get a feel for the scale and size of the building,” Clark said. “We’re right at 12 months until completion and we’re right where we want to be.”
He said once the new facility on the south campus is complete it will include, medical imaging, laboratory services, occupational medicine as well as a new data system that will support the entire SOMC health care system.
“We work really hard with our design team and get three dimensional renderings on the computer. There is really no substitute for the actual steel coming out of the ground,” Clark said.
Clark said it’s anticipated that the facility will be complete in fall of 2016.
SOMC also broke ground on a new facility in West Portsmouth, close to Riverside Park.
“We’re going to have primary care, though a nurse practitioner and they will offer a few different things. At the West Portsmouth facility we’re going to have even more extended hours and weekend appointments,” Clark said.
He said the facility in West Portsmouth is anticipated to be complete this calendar year.
“The exterior building finishes are being completed right now. The parking lot paving was completed last week, you can really get a good since of that building and what it’s going to look like,” Clark said.
He said the majority of the remaining work is interior, and it’s anticipated that the facility will open by the end of 2015.
SOMC has recently also undergone efforts to expand availability of parking on its main campus.
“We know it’s not easy to find parking spots. We are continuing to try to mobilize our workforce to park in alternate locations, so we can keep those close parking spots available for all of our patients and visitors,” Clark said. “As our volumes continue to increase we have to make more spots available. We’ve shifted more parking off the main campus.”
Clark said the employees that park on the east campus or on the Christ’s Community Parking lot are bused to the main campus.
“We’re in the process of building a new parking lot on the west side of our facility along Sherman Road that will be about 200 spaces. This will alleviate congestion in the parking garages and on that side of campus,” Clark said.
The contractor on this project will be Solid Rock Construction and is slated to be complete in the fall of 2015.
Clark said the lower level of the Braunlin Building is being expanded to include more educational space to enhance staff education. He said a contract was recently awarded to J&H Erectors to perform this work and is anticipated to be complete in early 2016.
A contract was recently awarded to DKM Construction to expand Neurology Office and facilitate better access to this service for patients. This project is anticipated to be complete in the spring of 2016.
Clark said SOMC is also undergoing an audit of its signs.
“We are not the hospital we we’re 30 years ago, 20 years ago or 10 years ago in terms of physical size. We’ve roughly doubled every ten years for the last 30 years in physical size,” Clark said. “We have not done a good job of keeping up with what we call way finding, which is what signs we use to communicate to our visitors and patients. We are in the process of beginning a comprehensive organizational assessment of every sign we have and name we use.”
He said this assessment is being conducted to make it easier for visitors and patients to find their way while at SOMC.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT