PHOENIXVILLE -- After 14 months of construction, the new parking garage as part of the Phoenixville Hospital's Expansion Plan is now open for patients, visitors and employees.

According to Phoenixville Hospital CEO Steven Tullman, the garage was open just for employees for the past few weeks, but is now available for everyone.

"The garage is finally open," proclaimed Tullman. "The west end of the garage is not open yet due to tower construction, but most of the garage is available to be used. The current entrance, located on the Main Street side of the hospital, isn't congested as of yet. We are working on more interior and exterior signage."

The top two levels of the parking garage is currently used for employees, while the lower levels is for patients and visitors.

"The employees have been very pleased with the new garage," said Tullman. "Everyone likes the wide parking spaces for all types of vehicles. We wanted them to be right for everyone."

Tullman said that a security camera system has been installed in the garage, as numerous camera domes are located throughout the garage.

"A full security camera sys

tem is in the garage and running all of the time," he said. "If a car is vandalized, we will have it on tape to be viewed. All of the stairwells are manned with telephones in case of an emergency. The phone goes right into our hospital operator, so they can handle the phone calls."

Another added bonus to the parking garage, said Tullman, is that it will be well-lit at night time.

"We wanted it to be well-lit for safety and security reasons," he said. "We want a lot of light, but not have the light shine out of the garage area. We have panels set up on the inside of the garage walls that'll reflect light back inside the garage instead of having it shine outwards."

The parking garage has a total of 553 parking spaces for the time being, with additional parking spaces becoming available once the remainder of the construction is complete.

Tullman also said that the gravel parking lot that is located along the Nutt Road side of the hospital will be paved over by September for more parking.

"We will definitely have enough parking," he said. "The gravel parking lot has been used quite a bit over the past year as overflow parking."

Tullman said that the free valet service from Empire Valet LLC of Wayne will be provided in front of the hospital from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. permanently.

The expansion work at the hospital began back on April 9, 2007 when construction workers for Skanska Construction began tearing down three buildings along Nutt Road, said Tullman.

The expansion plan includes a future medical office building; a three-level parking garage; emergency room improvements; surgery expansion; diagnostic imaging/cath lab expansion; women's services expansion; all private patient rooms and ancillary/support services; central mechanical plant to be replaced; upgrades in the public entry and facade appearance; and a new bed tower.

Robert D. Lynn Associates (RDLA), of Philadelphia, is the architectural firm for the expansion. Rodney Wilson, president, Hart Freeland Roberts Inc. and lead engineer for the hospital plan, is the civil engineer.

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