Salem hospital making plans for a towering weekend

SALEM – Area residents will have a couple of opportunities to tour the new private patient room tower at Salem Regional Medical Center next weekend, besides attending the tower dedication and the 100th Anniversary Time Capsule burial.

An open house geared toward families will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, featuring activities and interactive attractions for children.

Another open house will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. next Sunday, kicking off with the tower dedication at 2 p.m. inside the concourse which connects the new section to the existing hospital structure.

The dedication will be followed by the burial of the 100th Anniversary Time Capsule outside at the front of the building next to the flag pole area.

“This is really a once in a lifetime opportunity to come into the hospital and see the largest addition we’ve ever put on this building,” SRMC Director of Public Relations Michele Hoffmeister said.

The dedication ceremony will include remarks by SRMC President/CEO Anita Hackstedde, M.D. and SRMC Board Chairman Derek Hiscox, along with Pastor Robert Rowley, hospital chaplain, blessing the building.

A youth choir comprised of teens from area schools in the hospital’s service area will sing a song with original lyrics written by Kandace Cleland for the dedication ceremony. The choir will be directed by Ali Flannigan and accompanied by Jodine Pilmer.

“We’re kind of excited to see that come together,” Hoffmeister said.

She noted that limited seating will be available for the dedication, but plans call for the event to be videotaped and simulcast in the cafeteria where people can watch it live on a large screen. After the dedication, people can start touring or go outside for the time capsule burial.

During both open houses, visitors can take themselves on a self-guided tour of the new facility, with guides set up at the various stops to direct them and a chance to meet staff members along the way.

Members of the community will be able to ask questions about the new tower or any of the services offered at Salem Regional Medical Center. The tour will include about 20 stops, with maps available at each stop. The starting point will be the new main lobby reception desk, then the ground floor concourse which includes the information desk, the coffee kiosk, the Look Nook gift shop and a meeting room.

People will be able to see where the parking garage connects to the concourse, but the parking garage will not be open for the events. Hoffmeister said visitors are being asked to park in the north parking lot near the Salem Medical Center, across State Street, then take a ride on Gus the Bus or use the walkway inside the building to cross over to the hospital.

Guides will be available in the parking lot and the Salem Medical Center to direct people. Extra wheelchairs will be in place at the Salem Medical Center for people who need them.

She said the tour will then move to the first floor via the elevator. Visitors will see the step down unit and nurses’ station, a patient room, a patient room with a bariatric lift, the intensive care unit, an ICU room and the ICU nurses’ station.

Informational handouts and small gifts will be given at the various stops and there will be displays in the cafeteria. A time capsule display will be set up in the meeting room. Visitors will also see a technology display detailing some of the state-of-the-art technology available for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

“We want everybody to be sure to visit all the stops,” Hoffmeister said.

The cafeteria will feature a photo booth where visitors can have their photos taken as a souvenir, but also to become part of a photo mosaic the hospital plans to have made of the patient tower which will then be displayed. The individual photos will make up the mosaic.

As another souvenir, people can pick up a commemorative postcard of the building with the date of the dedication. Hoffmeister remarked that a number of people told her they had postcards from the hospital’s original dedication on Sept. 13, 1913. Several celebrations for the 100th anniversary were held last year to mark the centennial. The burial of the 100th Anniversary Time Capsule will be the culmination of those events for 2013.

“We want this generation to have their version of the commemorative postcard,” she said.

Construction of the new addition began in 2012, featuring a two-level parking deck and three floors dedicated to patient care. Patients will be moved into the facility beginning Feb. 4.