NMMC to open parking tower today, other facilities next week
By Marty Russell
North Mississippi Medical Center will begin unveiling its new, $38 million East Tower project with today’s opening of a 400-space, five-level parking garage.
The hospital’s new Outpatient Department, located on the first floor of the new six-floor East Tower building, is scheduled to open Monday, and the new emergency room, also located on the first floor of the tower, is due to open Wednesday.
“We opened the lower level a month ago just because of the demand for parking,” Bruce Ridgway, NMMC vice president for construction and facility management, said of the new parking facility.
The remainder of the facility will open today. While the top and bottom levels will be reserved for hospital employees, Ridgway said the number of parking spaces available for patients and visitors will dramatically increase because a 260-space parking area that had been closed during construction will also reopen with completion of the tower project.
The new parking structure can be reached through the hospital’s main entrance off Garfield Street.
Both the Outpatient Department and emergency room are accessible through entrances that are located on a covered, three-lane drive-through that connects with a parking structure designated for outpatients and emergency room patients.
The Outpatient Department will consolidate all of the hospital’s outpatient services in one area, while the new emergency room area will provide expanded space and two entrances, one for ambulance patients and one for patients who drive themselves to the hospital.
A 10-room express care treatment area is also included in the emergency room area for patients suffering from minor injuries or illnesses.
The emergency room has been expanded from its current 17 treatment rooms to 39 to serve the 65,000 patients who use the facility annually. The new facility is designed to handle up to 100,000 patients a year.
Visitors to both the emergency room and the new outpatient area will be greeted by “ambassadors,” hospital employees who will assist them in finding what they need or ready with a wheelchair if a patient needs it.
The emergency room will also feature security personnel, security cameras and a metal detector for public safety.
Both the new outpatient area and the new emergency room, as well as parking areas for those two areas, are accessible through the main entrance on Garfield Street.