Golf cart will provide rides at hospital during construction

Published 2:19 am Tuesday, April 22, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- A new $7,500 golf cart already seems to be making life easier for patients and employees at Lakeland Hospital.
The cart was bought with money donated from the Lakeland Auxiliary, Pawating Hospital, and delivered last Monday to be used as a people mover during construction.
Due to the temporary Riverfront entrance, the distances from some of the hospital parking lots to the hospital's entrances may be inconvenient, especially in inclement weather. Using the golf cart as a shuttle will provide easier access for those using hospital services, for visitors and patients, and for hospital personnel.
Chris Vella, hospital volunteer coordinator, said people visiting the hospital are also confused because of the ongoing construction work, especially with the hospital's main entrance currently being closed.
The new Riverfront entrance instead serves as the hospital's temporary main entrance, until construction work on the main entrance is finished sometime next year.
She said the cart will be shared between security and hospital volunteers, who will drive around the hospital parking lots to look for people who need transport.
The cart, which seats four, with room for some luggage in the back, is weather proof for use in rain or snow.
In the winter there will be a small heater to keep people warm, but there is no air-conditioner in it to cool people down.
The cart, however, has side curtains which can be opened if it gets too warm outside.
Lucy McCauslin, auxiliary vice-president, is excited to see the golf cart already in use and working so well.
She said sometimes when the auxiliary decides to donate money, it takes a while before they see the results of their donation, but with the golf cart, the result has been immediate.
McCauslin said the auxiliary quickly decided to help out after Vella, in November of last year, suggested a need for the golf cart because of the temporary closing of the main entrance.
Jim Taylor and Harold Stokes are among the hospital volunteers who will soon drive the golf cart.
They are both looking forward to making life a little easier for hospital visitors and staff.
Debra Johnson, executive director at Lakeland Hospital, is also glad to have the golf cart available for those needing transport.
Also she values the work provided by volunteers for the hospital.
Currently, there are 205 new and long-time volunteers ensuring hospital visitors are guided to where they need to go. Vella also values the hospital's volunteers.