Parkview Health Systems will demolish two prominent features of its Randallia Drive campus.
But the demise of the parking garage and English Hall sign don't signal a lack of commitment to the facility that serves as Parkview's main hospital until its Regional Medical Center opened on Dupont Road two years ago, officials insist. Just the opposite, in fact.
“We're doing this so we can plan for our future (on Randallia),” said Ben Miles, chief operating officer of Parkview Regional Medical Center. “It's really about the best use of our resources. Studies show parking will be more than adequate.”
The 450-space garage will close in August, and by the end of the year will be replaced by an easier-to-maintain 150-space surface lot that will "really open up the campus," Miles said. English Hall, built in 1953, is currently vacant and was home to Parkview's nursing school until it closed in 1991 after training more than 2,400 people.
There are no plans for the English Hall site, but the area – between the parking garage and the Catholic Church's St. Anne Home, could be redeveloped later. Renovating the old building would have been too expensive, officials said.
But the building's history of education will continue, said Marlon Wardlow, vice president of operations for the Randallia campus. Artifacts from the old building will be incorporated into the new Mirro Family Research and Education Center on the Dupont campus, he said. Ground was broken on the 82,000-square-foot facility last fall. The center will offer classrooms, medical simulations and other activities and is expected to be complete later this year.
Miles said additional improvements are planned to the Randallia campus, although he declined to offer specifics. In 2013 Parkview announced it would spend $3.2 million to improve the appearance of the campus and would also continue to offer a variety of medical services there, An open house in July gave visitors a look at some of those improvements, including new signs at entrances.
“We're looking at what services need to be expanded, and that will be predicated on what the public tells us,” Miles said. "There's a great story evolving (on Randallia), and we will continue to invest heavily there."
During construction of the parking lot, visitors are asked to use the valet parking service offered at the main entrance. Staff will be added to handle the expected demand, and the service will be available 24 hours per day.