BY MELANIE BUCK –
Persistent drainage issues that have plagued the front entrance and Emergency Department at Mena Regional Health System have been resolved, according to MRHS Director of Plant Facilities Shawn Free.
The problem began after construction was completed on the 36,000 sq. ft. women’s center, emergency department, and renovation project in October 2006. After MRHS has had several engineers research the project, the hospital secured the services of local engineer D.C. Spencer, who provided the most cost effective and optimum solution. Spencer began by standing in the rain and watching the how the water flowed from one area to the other before he began drawing plans in December 2015. “He has been really nice to work with,” said Free. Spencer’s proposal was approved in January by the Hospital Commission and Glennaire Construction began work in April 2016.
Since then, excess rainwater is being diverted and a remarkable improvement has already been noted by hospital officials. Free explained that water entered the main entrance at least a dozen times over the last few years and up to three inches of standing water could be found in the ER waiting room at times. The flooding caused not just water issues, but created a reoccurring expense. Free explained that many times, the hospital was forced to seek professional help to remove the water promptly for the safety of patients and staff as well as dry the floors before permanent damages occurred.
To correct the issue at hand, the project has consisted of installing 16-inch drainage pipes, three additional catch basins, a retaining wall, and more to ensure that the flooding is no longer an issue. Free said the project is around 75% complete and, weather permitting, it will be complete in the next couple of weeks. The project cost for the hospital is $31,341.