Marshall Medical Center staff members were as excited as Mountain Democrat visitors recenlty when a much anticipated tour of a brand-new Emergency Room took place. Some of them had not been inside the unfinished behemoth that has risen on the hospital campus for the past two-and-a-half years.
And the paint hasn’t even been spread over the impressive, multi-story building erected just south of the existing hospital on Marshall Way in Placerville.
As the group of Marshall employees, two gentlemen from local building contractor Carter Kelly and the Democrat stepped gingerly around nails and boards lying on dirt, it was possible to envision the skeletal structure taking flesh as an acute care wing.
The ER will fill the first floor, taking up 25,000 square feet as compared to Marshall’s current 17,000-square-foot facility. But those are just numbers; once one steps inside the spacious, looming building under construction since March 2009 there comes a sense of the possibilities.
“One of the great things about it will be that we’ll have patient rooms with closed doors, so that patients can talk about what’s wrong and give information such as Social Security numbers in complete privacy,” said Donna Nichols, Marshall’s director of Patient Registration.
Carter Kelly’s job superintendent Carl Dingle watched as the tour members exclaimed at the spacious surroundings and pictured what the facility will offer when it’s completed; the target is spring of 2012.
Dingle and Carter Kelly construction manager Roy Jorgensen, who have been involved in the multi-million-dollar project since its inception, conceded that the completion is behind schedule by about six months.
Part of that is due to unseasonably wet, cold weather but an ailing California state budget also has played a role, according to the team. Budget cutbacks and concomitant layoffs of state inspectors and other officials have caused delays in paperwork and other housekeeping necessary to an undertaking of this size; plans had to change in some circumstances. Carter Kelly has had as many as 50 workers assigned to the Marshall expansion, with that number about 25 currently, and the construction firm has striven to employ local talent when it comes to contracting out any of the work.
The $60 million project, which includes a Birthing Center on the top floor, may sound pricey, but in a community that always has been supportive of Marshall Hospital the dream is becoming a reality, according to Marshall Medical’s Dr. Marc Walter.
“There has been a lot of community support, along with a fabulous staff that has contributed money to the expansion,” said Walter as he took in the warren of soon-to-be offices in the new Emergency Room. “And Marshall’s physicians — we’ve bought a few bricks!”
The Marshall Foundation has been key in raising funding for the expansion, Walter added.
Even though the rooms under construction are of bare boards with plank flooring, the vastness of the complex can be felt and the populating of the building imagined. As Nichols explained the plan, the new ER basically will offer double of everything — more beds, more triage rooms, more trauma rooms, more resuscitation rooms, more doctors.
And an important addition that brought smiles to the faces of those on the tour — the new Emergency Room will have its own CT scanner.
There also will be an isolation room, where patients who have been exposed to dangerous, toxic elements can be treated without risk of exposure to others. (Marshall now uses a portable structure for that eventuality.)
Once the new Emergency Room acute care center opens, Walter said he anticipates the number of patients will dramatically rise, as the local public realizes you don’t need to leave El Dorado County for larger facilities in the Sacramento area in order to get the best in quality medical care.
Marshall Hospital, which already enjoys a reputation for top-notch care, will be ready for them.