By Sara E. Martin, Army Flier Staff WriterAugust 30, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (August 30, 2012) -- The main entrance to Lyster Army Health Clinic will not be accessible after September 1 as a result of construction to install a revolving door, but several alternate entrances to the building will open for staff and patients.
During construction, that is expected to last 45 days, Lyster officials ask for patience, but guarantee the renovation will improve the building on several levels, said Robbie Johnson, chief of facilities at Lyster.
"The center of the new door will be to the right of where the sliding doors currently stand. The outside sliding doors will be gone, but the inside sliding doors will remain," he said.
A raised roof covered walkway will be built over the existing walkway from the parking area that will consist of a handicap entrance and ramp. The revolving door will be handicap accessible, but Johnson said some patrons at Lyster have expressed concerns that the revolving door will move too quickly for wheelchairs.
"The door can sense when a wheelchair or walker has entered and will slow its rotation to accommodate their slower pace. The technology is perfectly safe for a wheelchair bound person, but since many may prefer a normal sliding door, one will remain and a ramp will be constructed for those not relaxed enough to use the revolving door," he said.
Other than being aesthetically pleasing, Lyster is putting in the door for financial reasons, he added.
"When both of the sliding doors open at the same time, it creates a wind tunnel that wastes the air conditioning. In the summer it pulls in the hot air and during the winter it sucks out the warm air. The revolving door will save hundreds of dollars a week in electric costs," said Johnson.
The project is a half-million dollar plan that will not only save money by being energy efficient, but will help the staff control the environment inside the building. A considerable amount of landscaping will also be done to make the facility more welcoming, he added.
"It is the commander's intent to take the plain, institutional-looking entrance and jazz it up; make it have more pizzazz and say 'welcome,'" said Johnson.
During construction, new entrances will be available for patrons. Signs will direct patients to the side entrances that will be accessible, he said.
"The old western emergency room entrance and the old east handicap ramp will be open for patients. The primary care clinic entrance will also open up for patrons. These three entrances will remain open after construction is complete," said Johnson.
Lyster has added 10 handicap parking spots on the west side of the building to help accommodate disabled patrons who will now be parking near that entrance, he said.
The building has seen other updates and construction in the past year and will see more in 2013.
"We helped increase patient flow by adding three exam rooms and we are currently adding dry fire suppressant to the computer rooms to contain a fire if one should spark from the room. We will also be installing a new generator and switch gear. It will downsize the generator room, but upgrades the electronics, so it will be more fuel efficient," said Johnson.
A few projects are projected to begin next year.
"We will change the pharmacy and lab areas entirely. We will move the pharmacy out to the field in a temporary building. As soon as the pharmacy space is renovated the lab will move and its old space will be renovated to accommodate the pharmacy. Once that is complete the pharmacy will move out of the temporary building and move back into Lyster to the new pharmacy area," said Johnson.
"We also plan on placing new floors throughout the entire building next year with green product flooring, and we are also working on a new behavioral health clinic. Currently the clinic is spread out in three different areas, so we want to combine them and give it a separate entrance. We want renovate and enlarge the physical therapy department, too," added Johnson.
All of the projects projected to begin next year, according to Staff Sgt. Javier Ramirez, NCO in charge of the patient center medical home, are to make the building function in this century's patient-focused medicine environment without building an entire new facility.
"Revamping the building is in the best interest of all the patients," he said. "Everything is geared toward a better experience for the patient. The product is going to provide a better healthcare experience as a whole for everyone," he said.
All the renovations will promote the Army's mission to prevent Soldiers and their Families from getting sick rather than treating sick people, he added.
"It's a focus on wellness rather than healthcare. We are going to do the best we can to mitigate the inconvenience of construction. Just please bear with us," said Ramirez.