New look at hospital as main entrance opens

Published 5:05 pm Tuesday, June 15, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- With the opening of its main entrance on Monday, Lakeland Hospital revealed a new look to its visitors adding to the hospital's goal of creating a more welcoming and friendly environment.
Among the improvements that were unveiled to the public were newly renovated versions of the main entrance lobby, information desk, Dreamcatcher Gift Shop, Midge Taylor Outpatient Center and radiology department.
The three year, $21.3 million construction project has already seen the completion of many projects including the A-2 inpatient unit, the new river entrance and the pain clinic.
This newest improvement to the main entrance offers a canopied drop-off area at the main entrance for patient's convenience and the use of natural light, plants and soothing colors to go along with the hospital's Planetree philosophy of care, which aims to create a more healing atmosphere.
Debra Johnson, executive director of Lakeland Hospital Niles, said this most recent phase of construction marks one of the most significant parts of the hospital's many construction projects.
The remaining construction, which is scheduled to be completely finished this fall, includes renovations to the A-3 inpatient unit to be completed in mid-July and the Community Health Resource Center to be completed in October.
Construction at Lakeland began in November 2002, so hospital officials were excited to see this recent finished product finally open to its visitors.
"Everyone in Niles is very excited, not only the staff, but also the public."
Johnson said the new entrance is a big improvement that will take away some of the inconveniences created by the construction.
Gail Deibler, a hospital volunteer, who was working at the new information desk on Monday, thinks the renovations have provided a more cozy, friendly atmosphere for its visitors.
Johnson and Colley mentioned that the support and patience of the Niles community has made all of the construction a much easier process.
Colley said over 80 moves have been made by different departments in the hospital to accommodate the construction, so the project's completion this fall will also be a welcome change for Lakeland's staff and volunteers.
The hospital will have a grand opening to celebrate the completion of all of the construction projects sometime in October.