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Baptist begins major construction projects

COLUMBUS — Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle has begun two construction projects totaling more than $11 million; a new behavioral and mental health facility and a parking lot expansion and renovation project.

The parking lot is projected to be completed this fall, just as construction will begin on the new building, which is set to open in early 2012. The new parking lot project is being completed first to ensure adequate parking for employees and the public when construction of the new building begins, said Bill Lancaster, assistant administrator at Baptist Golden Triangle who is in charge of the projects. The building’s construction will eliminate one existing employee parking lot.

The state Department of Health has approved the certificate of need for the 26,100-square-foot psychiatric and chemical dependency facility, said Lancaster. The building will be connected to the north side of the main hospital building.

The facility will serve patients on both an inpatient and outpatient basis and will include a 14-bed closed unit and two eight-bed open units, he added. One wing will be dedicated to senior adults with psychiatric and/or chemical dependency problems.

The new facility will replace the aging Willowbrook Building located on Willowbrook Drive that currently houses the hospital’s behavioral and mental health services. That building was constructed in the 1980s and will soon require substantial renovation and repairs, said Lancaster.

The hospital’s ambulance service and outpatient rehabilitation services, which are also housed in the Willowbrook Building, will be relocated to other areas on campus, he added.

A new parking lot for patients and visitors, including additional handicapped parking, is being built along Fifth Street in front of the main hospital building, while employee parking on the north side of the building is being expanded east to Baptist Boulevard. The existing north employee parking lot will be resurfaced, restriped and improved, including correcting drainage, he added.

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