Construction Progress at WRMC
Contact: Tammy G. Love
Director of Marketing & Medical Staff Development
Phone: (336) 651-8116
By CHARLES S. WILLIAMS
Wilkes Journal-Patriot Staff
Officials at Wilkes Regional Medical Center hope to have work completed on the emergency department expansion by the end of this year.
"The dedication ceremony for the hospital was held May 1, 1952," said Wilkes Regional Chief Executive Officer Gene Faile this morning. "The plan is for the new emergency department to be finished and open so we can officially celebrate the 60th anniversary of the hospital and the opening of the expanded emergency department at the end of this year."
Construction is currently running approximately two weeks behind schedule, but Faile expects work to be back on schedule soon.
The 9,500-square-foot expansion will double the size of the existing ED, and the number of exam rooms will increase from 19 to 29. The addition will extend the building 88 feet into the emergency department parking area.
Despite the construction work in the area, the emergency department was busy in January with 2,819 patients. "That is one of the higher monthly patient volumes we have ever had," Faile said. "The previous year, we had 2,695 cases. We do not get up into that range very often."
Heart Center to open in May
Faile added that the hospital's new 2,200-square-foot heart center, located in the emergency department expansion, is scheduled to open in May.
The heart center will be staffed by Dr. William Scarpa and Dr. Julian Thomas, cardiologists who were recruited to Wilkes Regional with assistance from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Dr. Thomas, a native of the Caribbean island of Trinidad, moved to Wilkes from upstate New York. Dr. Scarpa relocated to Wilkes from Pinehurst.
The 2,200-square-foot space will include physician offices, six exam rooms, two stress testing labs, waiting area, nursing station, and additional support space.
The physicians are currently using other space in the hospital until the new center is completed.
Renovations are also being made in the surgical department to provide additional room for new equipment and technology, and to handle the continued growth in the number of surgical cases.
A room to house two 750-kilowatt standby emergency generators and fuel tanks is being constructed on the east side of the hospital. The cost for the generators, the new room, excavation, and switching equipment added $1.84 million to the project cost.
New parking area
Work is continuing on the expansion of the emergency department parking area, in front of the main entrance to the ED. Though the original estimate for the parking lot was $450,000, the cost is expected to be less than $250,000.
Shelco Inc. of Winston-Salem is the general contractor for the $9,997,000 project. Faile told members of the hospital operating board this week, "We picked Shelco in part because of the company's commitment to use local businesses whenever possible. Thus far, Shelco has used 17 local subcontractors and supply companies, pouring $1.9 million back into the local economy."
The hospital administration has invited local elected officials to tour the emergency department to see the construction progress.
North Wilkesboro commissioners are scheduled to tour the hospital Wednesday, Feb. 8, with Wilkes County commissioners visiting on Monday, Feb. 27, and Wilkesboro town council members touring Monday, March 5.