Valley View shows hospital-ity
Post Independent Staff
Looking more like an upscale ski lodge than a hospital, Valley View opened the doors of its new addition this week. Some areas are still waiting for furniture and some are already welcoming patients, but overall, the 50-year-old hospital was ready for business Wednesday.
This week employees and their families toured the new-and-improved wing of the hospital. On Saturday, the public is invited to an open house from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with barbecue meals and tours scheduled. Come next week, much of the new wing will open only to patients and will be off-limits to the public, said Alice Sundeen, director of marketing.
The hotel look of the addition was intentional, said Mike Biles, director of facility planning and construction for the hospital. “We were trying to get away from the institutional feel.”
Inside, the hotel-like ambiance carries through in wood doors, paneling, and cabinets, as well as soft light sconces with wrought iron brackets, stone wall accents and stone-like flooring tiles.
Patients and visitors will have a period of adjustment, since the entrance to the hospital will now be through the new wing. The new official entrance is now approached by turning on Valley View Drive off Blake Avenue. Follow the colorful flags to the covered entrance. Valet parking, another hotel-like feature, will be available there.
Biles said the hospital would prefer patients and visitors not drive up 19th Street to the hospital, since this is the entrance to the emergency room and there is no parking in that area. Valet parking will continue to be offered at the old entrance but most services, as well as hospital registration, is now in the new addition.
Also contained within the new wing is the emergency room; the Family Birthplace; imaging, which includes X-rays, MRI and CT scanning; and respiratory therapy.
Just inside the new entrance, marked by a faux rock waterfall, is a wide-open area with a waiting room on the left. The large atrium lobby was designed to look like a village street, Biles said, complete with a sidewalk cafe that features Starbucks coffee and wireless Internet service, and a gift shop. On the right, just inside the front doors, is the Family Birthplace.
Soft lighting, low music and homey amenities define the new-and-improved birth center.
“We want people to feel welcome here,” said Susan Scott, director of perinatal services at Valley View.
The center features 11 private rooms for moms who have just given birth. Cozy features highlight the rooms. Each room has an old-fashioned quilt on the bed, comfortable chairs, and fluffy bathrobes and slippers. For waiting dads, the room has a flat-screen TV on the wall.
At the back of the department is an efficient kitchen where families can cook meals. Next door is a spacious dining room where the hospital also serves special candlelight dinners, with such delicacies as steak and lobster tails for new moms and their families.
Moms deliver their babies in private rooms where they recover for an hour or two, then, they usually walk back to their original rooms, Scott said.
Babies are big business at Valley View, Scott said, with 50 to 60 births a month and about 700 a year on average.
In all, the $30 million, two-story addition adds 160,000 square feet to the original hospital, which was built in 1955.
Phase two of the construction will begin this fall with expansion of the surgery department and radiology. Construction is expected to continue over about 20 months.
Valley View also celebrates its 50th year in 2005 with celebrations set for September.
Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510
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