Portion of East 11th Street on Healthcare Campus Closes to Through Traffic May 1st

posted on Thursday, March 9, 2023 in General

Approximately two blocks of East 11th Street in Spencer will permanently close to through traffic on May 1 associated with the construction of Spencer Hospital’s new emergency department and campus expansion.

“With the arrival of spring construction season, contractors will place barricades midway in the 100 block of East 11th Street, located just off of Grand Avenue, to the midway point in the 300 block of East 11th Street,” explained Joel Wassom, plant operations director for Spencer Hospital. “Authorized personnel will be able to access areas of East 11th from First Avenue East and Second Avenue East.”

Wassom explained that initial work entails removal of four hospital-owned houses along the south side of E. 11th Street to gain parking for the new emergency department. Early spring site work also includes bringing in fill dirt to raise the street elevation where the new emergency department will be built between the hospital and Spencer Medical Arts Building.

Spencer Public Works Director Mark White explained that city officials, including public works, law enforcement and fire emergency personnel, have been actively involved in the various planning stages of the street closure. “Prior to approval of the street closure which was finalized last winter, the city council held two public hearings and the ordinance was presented at city council meetings three times. Also, we’ve conducted traffic use studies not only on the affected portion of East 11th Street, but also on neighboring streets. As the traffic patterns change this spring, we’ll continue to monitor how we can enhance safety.”

The new emergency department will be constructed on East 11th Street between the Medical Arts Building and the hospital.  It will feature patient-centered improvements to include additional and larger treatment rooms; two trauma bays; and two rooms specifically designed for the care of behavioral health patients. 

Patient privacy will be enhanced by using an “on-stage, off-stage” design model through which a center core work area is dedicated for use by healthcare providers to reduce background sound and activity near patients receiving care. 

Plans also include a larger, comfortable waiting area.  An attached, temperature controlled ambulance garage will accommodate two ambulances, and will feature more efficient access for out-of-town ambulances transporting patients to Spencer Hospital.  A partial basement will be constructed under the new department to provide utility service and an additional general storage area.  A new ambulance storage garage is also included to accommodate the hospital’s on-campus fleet.