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Hospital lands grant to make tower hurricane resistant

HospitalPASCAGOULA — A $17 million grant will let Singing River Health System renovate the south tower of Singing River Hospital, fortifying it against hurricanes.

Chief operating officer Kevin Holland tells The Mississippi Press that improvements paid for by the Federal Emergency Management Agency will include windows able to withstand 150-mph winds. He says existing windows are rated up to 90 mph.

Holland says FEMA will be asked to approve the plan after 4 to 6 months of engineering work. He expects construction to start in early 2015 and take about two years.

The first three floors of the same building’s east wing were gutted and are undergoing a $6 million renovation paid for with bonds issued two years ago. The fourth floor was remodeled several years ago.

Combined with other projects, it’s about a $30 million overhaul, CEO Chris Anderson told the Pascagoula Rotary Club last week.

Holland said the floors being renovated showed their age.

“For example, you wouldn’t think of a hospital room not having a private shower, but it was built like a lot of hospitals in that era with a community shower down the hall almost like a college dorm. That was the standard back then,” he said.

The redesigned floors will have 15 rooms or 16 rooms each. Cancer patients will stay on the first floor, general medical and surgical patients on the second and pediatric and obstetric and gynecological patients on the third.

“I know there’s a bit of a reputation out there in the community that Singing River is kind of an older place,” Anderson said. “When we are done, it is going to be inside and outside a brand new hospital.”

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