New beginnings

MARSHALL – Opening day is approaching for Affiliated Community Medical Centers’ new Marshall clinic. This week, the new building south of the Market Street Mall was full of activity as equipment was moved in and final preparations were made.

Lots of people are eager to see the new clinic, especially patients, said ACMC Marshall site manager Shana Zahrbock.

“We’ve had people ask to schedule their appointments on Monday,” she said.

That’s when the doors open for the new main clinic building. Construction has taken about a year, after ground was broken last February. The 45,000 square-foot building includes urgent care, family and internal medicine, laboratory and imaging services, and more.

The new clinic will help accommodate growth at ACMC in Marshall, as well as make patient services more efficient, Zahrbock and other ACMC staff said.

Zahrbock said the new clinic was designed with patients’ needs in mind. One example of this is the front of the building, which includes covered, drive-up access for people visiting the clinic.

“Patients can be dropped off right there,” while an assistant helps them into the building, Zahrbock said. For many people, it will be easier and more convenient than making their way across the parking lot, she said. The clinic’s interiors have also been designed with plenty of space and light, for a welcoming atmosphere.

“Natural light has been proven to help lift people’s spirits,” Zahrbock said.

The moving-in process for ACMC staff members kicked into gear on Thursday, but some, like laboratory manager Phil Hansen, were getting a head start earlier in the week. In spite of the move, Hansen and Zahrbock said ACMC is taking care not to interrupt patient care and services.

“It should be a seamless transition for patients,” Zahrbock said. Appointments, clinic and urgent care hours will continue as normal, and switch to the new clinic starting Monday morning.

ACMC will be moving out of its Bruce Street clinic space when the new clinic opens, Zahrbock said. However, it will keep its Market Street Mall location for a sleep lab and records offices.

Hansen said moving into the new clinic will be helpful for laboratory services. Currently, ACMC manages two lab locations in Marshall. With one centralized lab at the new clinic, he said, “It will help us do things that much faster.”

Hansen said the new lab area has some other improvements, like having space dedicated to stress testing.

Lab hours will also start a half-hour earlier on weekdays, which allows for more flexibility in accommodating people having tests done, he said.

One of the biggest new additions to the ACMC Marshall clinic was getting up and running with help from technicians on Wednesday morning. A Magnetic Resonance Imaging scanner will be part of the new clinic’s imaging department, along with existing services like CT scans, digital mammography and ultrasounds.

The magnet for the MRI is so large, the scanner had to be brought into the MRI room before the fourth wall was built, Zahrbock said.

The MRI can make detailed cross-sectional images of the body, and doesn’t use radiation to make images, said Kari Westby, ACMC radiation safety officer. The MRI will be useful for a wide range of services at the clinic, from visiting orthopedic specialist services to followups on neurological care. Westby added that the particular model of MRI the clinic will use was also designed to be more energy-efficient.

Westby said ACMC staff are looking forward to the new clinic.

“It’s just like moving to a new house. It’s a lot of work, but it’s very exciting,” she said.

Although the new clinic will open Monday, Zahrbock said a grand opening will be held April 11. The wait will help make sure everything is settled at the new location, she said.