TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Last week, St. Luke's Magic Valley began renovating its emergency department.
The construction follows nearly two years worth of planning, and hospital officials say they're ready for change.
“The renovation needs to be done," said Garth Blackburn, the Manager of Nursing and Patient Services for St. Luke's Magic Valley. "I’m very excited to see it being done and already that first phase that is complete, the appearance of it is very nice.”
While the much-needed construction is underway, the hospital says people seeking emergency department services may experience longer wait times while rooms are closed.
In some cases, the hospital will have to prioritize which person receives treatment first, depending on the nature of their emergency.
“There are those times where, because we are shutting down rooms, we will now have to prioritize people that are coming in more so than we would normally have done if we didn’t have this flooring project underway,” said Blackburn.
Renovation plans include repainting rooms and replacing the flooring.
“The flooring in the ED (Emergency Department) has undergone quite a bit of damage over those ten years," said Blackburn. "We see a significant amount of traffic. Over 100 patients come in per day through that department.”
The overall wear and tear of foot traffic in the area wasn't the only problem that made officials concerned. There are also concerns about potential viruses or bacteria within the flooring that had the potential to harm patients and staff.
“We were seeing that potential there for that risk of those infectious agents growing in those cracks," said Blackburn. "I’m talking very, very small cracks, not something you would visibly note or roll an ankle on, but it was just really that concern that we had.”
The new flooring will be much more durable and can last up to 20 to 25 years and as Blackburn described it, it has somewhat of a "rubber" feel and will help ease the strain on nurses and doctors knees and backs from being on their feet for 12 to 14 hours out of the day.
The project is set to last roughly nine weeks, with a new room and hallway being worked on each week. If all goes smoothly, hospital officials hope for renovations to be concluded by September 20.