By Michaela Gibson Morris
TUPELO – For some 400 North Mississippi Medical Center-Tupelo employees, their morning commute has taken a detour.
A July 14 storm sent a construction crane crashing into the fifth floor of the employee parking garage, lowering the boom on 400 parking spaces, said Bruce Ridgway, NMMC vice president.
To keep employees from competing with patients and visitors for the spaces in other lots, the hospital has been taking advantage of the unused pavement at the closed Food World grocery store on South Gloster Street, a block south of its campus.
Daytime employees, not directly involved in hands-on patient care, are parking at that location and catching a shuttle to the hospital.
“It's been positive so far,” said Ridgway, “They say it's so much easier than searching for a spot” in the employee garage.
The hospital started the repairs earlier this week. If they go as scheduled, the parking spaces should open back up in six to eight weeks.
The repairs won't put much of a dent in the project to expand the employee garage.
The repairs will add less than $50,000 to the cost of the $5.3 million expansion, which included relocating utilities and Council Circle as well as the construction of the tower, Ridgway said. The expansion is set to be completed before Christmas.
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