At noon Wednesday, Mountain States Health Alliance team members began moving their vehicles into Johnson City Medical Center’s new six-story, $9.8 million parking garage, making spaces near the planned surgery center entrance available for patients and visitors.
MSHA and JCMC officials celebrated the opening of the 277,660-square-foot, 867-space structure Wednesday morning along with about 200 members and visitors on the garage’s fifth floor. The garage, which has the parking space capacity comparable to five football fields, opened on time and on budget.
Candace Jennings, MSHA’s senior vice president of Tennessee operations, expressed her gratitude that the top-priority improvement could be made during rough economic times.
“Mountain States Health Alliance and our flagship hospital, JCMC, committed to moving forward with this structure when many others were pulling back on capital projects,” she said. “In this economic climate, that took a lot of courage on the part of our leadership and our board of directors. At this time of year when all our thoughts turn to giving thanks for the blessings we have, we are especially thankful that MSHA has been able to make this investment in the future, looking forward to even bigger and better projects that will benefit the residents of Johnson City and the region at large.”
The garage was constructed on the south side of the hospital for use by MSHA team members. It was built in that area in order to free up parking for patients and families close to the Heart Center, Chest Pain Center and Intensive Care Unit.
“I’ve always had to park across the street (North State of Franklin Road),” said Jackie Chandler, a registered nurse case worker who’s been employed at JCMC for nearly 21 years. “This was very much needed. You couldn’t find a parking space between all the members, patients and students.”
Michelle Jones, who’s been a nurse at JCMC for 12 years, said parking has always been an issue.
“This is great,” she said. “I think they did a great job, and they finished on time.”
The completion of the parking garage also is a crucial first step in making room for the new surgery tower scheduled for completion in 2013. Groundbreaking for the new surgery tower is set for January. The 160,000-square-foot addition will feature 16 operating suites, expanded and updated to house the latest surgical technology and equipment, along with 48 patient beds for pre- and post-surgical care.
Beneath the surgery center, hospital officials are planning an expanded Regional Cancer Center with updated radiation therapy equipment and expanded patient rooms. Other updates planned for JCMC include remodeling of patient rooms and nurses station in the Women’s Center for improved comfort and better workflow, a new central sterile supply center, and updated heating and cooling equipment for the entire facility.
Construction began on the largest project, the addition of a new parking deck, on Feb. 21. A covered, overhead walkway runs from the medical center to the garage’s fifth floor. An elevator serves team members on the structure’s southwest side — the side nearest the center.
Additional parking during construction has been available on the opposite side of North State of Franklin, and shuttle buses will continue to run to ensure any team members not parking in the new garage get safely from their cars to work. The new deck also includes 15 handicapped accessible spaces.
Charlotte, N.C.-based architect Carl Walker Parking Engineering designed the deck; Nashville’s Skanska Construction was the general contractor.