DMH constructionThe main entrance to Drew Memorial Hospital will be closed for construction beginning on Wednesday, February 1.

At that time, hospital administration requests that all patients and visitors use the Allied Health Building entrance for all non-emergent entry. The emergency room entrance at the back of the hospital will remain open for emergency room visits.

“It’s necessary to close the main entrance to our facility for several months, possibly for the majority of the remaining construction time,” said Drew Memorial Hospital CEO Scott Barrilleaux.

The surgery center expansion project, funded in part by bonds approved by Drew County voters in December 2015, includes an expanded and renovated main entrance area, which will replace the current entry that dates from 1975.

“It will be an inconvenience, but we know it will be worthwhile in the long-run,” Barrilleaux said. “The existing facility will become much more open and welcoming to patients and visitors, and the new entrance will connect the original hospital to the addition seamlessly.”

The change to foot traffic will be noted with signage directing visitors to use the Allied Health Building entrance, located north of the main entrance. The Allied Health Building was constructed in 2012 and houses the sleep center, cancer center, rehabilitation services, Drew Surgical Specialists, Transitions, and the conference center.

“During regular business hours, we plan to have attendants on golf carts stationed at the Allied Health Building entrance,” said Ben Moore, director of engineering.

The golf carts will be available Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., the same hours the main information desk is operational for patient registration. Moore said attendants can transport patients and visitors with mobility restrictions to more convenient entrances if necessary. For example, there may be family members visiting a patient on the medical/surgical (inpatient) floor. The golf cart driver may take them to an emergency exit normally inaccessible to outside traffic in order to get them closer to their patient’s room. There also are public entrances available near both outpatient clinics, on the west side of the building, which may get visitors closer to their destinations.

“The information desk just inside the main entrance will still be fully functional, and patients will still register there as usual once they are inside the building,” Moore said.

The Allied Health Building entrance doors will be unlocked between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. DMH volunteers from the Auxiliary will have a new post just inside this entrance to guide visitors to their destinations. All overnight foot traffic between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. may use the emergency room entrance.

“We truly appreciate the patience of our patients and their families as we move forward with the expansion project,” said Barrilleaux. “It will be worth the wait in the long run when the completed facility reflects the quality our community deserves.”