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One project nearly done, another is set to begin

Baptist-Golden Triangle juggles construction work

At a time when many commercial construction projects are on hold due to the sluggish economy, Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle is in the middle of one build and is preparing to advertise bids for a second. Adding to the complexity of the projects’ logistics is that both must be built without interrupting patient services.

But, Baptist-Golden Triangle in Columbus has recent experience dealing with large construction projects, and hospital officials report the work has gone as planned thus far.

Baptist-Golden Triangle is building a new behavioral and mental health facility (above) as well as a parking lot expansion and renovation. The total cost of the projects are more than $11 million.

Baptist-Golden Triangle is building a new behavioral and mental health facility (above) as well as a parking lot expansion and renovation. The total cost of the projects are more than $11 million.

Last June, the Mississippi Department of Health awarded a certificate of need to Baptist-Golden Triangle to build a new behavioral and mental health facility as well as a parking lot expansion and renovation. The total cost of the projects is more than $11 million.

The new psychiatry and chemical dependency facility will encompass 26,100 square feet, and will connect to the north side of the main hospital building, according to Bill Lancaster, assistant administrator at Baptist-Golden Triangle. The building will include a 14-bed closed unit and two eight-bed open units.

The new facility replaces the hospital’s Willowbrook Building. Built in the 1980s, it will soon require substantial renovation and repairs, according to Lancaster.

“We are excited about having this new facility that will enable us to better meet the needs of our patients and staff in an environment-friendly atmosphere that affords safety and security,” said David Johnson, mental health director at Baptist-Golden Triangle.

The new facility will also offer convenience. The Willowbrook Building is located on Willowbrook Drive, approximately 600 feet south of the main hospital building.

However, the new facility creates some challenging construction logistics. The new facility is to be built on existing employee parking space. Thus, the hospital has to have new parking in place before work could begin on the new building.

Columbus-based Ellis Construction Company Inc. is the contractor on the new parking project, which has two components. 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 on the west side of the campus, while employee parking on the north side of the main building in the new facility’s construction zone is being expanded east to Baptist Boulevard. The existing north employee parking lot will be resurfaced, re-striped and improved, including correcting drainage, according to Baptist-Golden Triangle administrator and CEO Paul Cade.

“Our new facility will allow us to build on our existing services in a modern facility located closer to our main hospital building,” Cade added.

Ellis Construction’s work on the new parking areas will wrap up this fall, just in time for construction to begin on the new facility.

Lancaster said he hopes the hospital opens bids for the new facility at the end of this month. The target to begin construction is October, and Baptist-Golden Triangle expects to have the new mental health facility open in early 2012.

Baptist-Golden Triangle is a veteran of large construction projects. In fact, this mental health facility/parking project is the second in five years.

In May 2005, the hospital opened its new bed tower. Measuring 167,000 square feet, it offers 151 patient rooms, each with private accommodations. In addition, the tower created a new home for the labor and delivery department offering larger suites and a well-baby nursery.

The total cost of that project (the primary contractor was Inman Construction Corporation of Memphis, Tenn.) was $34 million, which by itself nearly met Baptist-Golden Triangle’s lease arrangement that called for a minimum of $40 million in construction over the course of the 35-year contract.

According to the hospital, it has now invested more than $100 million in the facility since signing the lease.

Today, Baptist-Golden Triangle is the largest regional hospital affiliated with Baptist Memorial Health Care system, which is headquartered in Memphis. There are 14 hospitals in Baptist Memorial Health Care’s system — eight in Tennessee, five in Mississippi and one in Arkansas.

Offering 328 beds, Baptist-Golden Triangle employs more than 1,000 healthcare professionals.

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