By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

Construction starting today will change access to the emergency department at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center-Baker City.

In the project’s third phase the current ER waiting area will be walled off for remodeling.

The ER remains open.

“It is open and functioning. How you access the ER is changing,” said Laura Huggins, director of marketing and communications.

Those seeking emergency care need to go through the hospital’s front doors off Pocahontas Road. An ER receptionist will be available 24 hours a day.

Ambulances will still use the same route off Midway Drive to access the emergency department.

Although the door near the ER will remain open, patients will have to walk to the front desk, then walk back to the ER.

Signs will be posted outside and inside the hospital to help patients navigate the change, which will be in place through October.

Hospital staff will be on hand for questions.

“Don’t hesitate to ask for help,” said Kelly Jacobs, ER manager.

Once complete, the ER will be self-contained with its own waiting room and bathroom.

The door from the parking lot will open to two hallways: Turn right to the emergency room; turn left to the cafe and the rest of the hospital.

This remodel is funded in part by money raised at the 2018 Festival of Trees, a total of $33,980.

The remaining funds come from the Leo Adler Foundation ($42,034), Leo Adler Endowment Fund held in the Saint Alphonsus Foundation ($42,034), and $11,277 from the Saint Alphonsus Foundation.

Capital funds from the Saint Alphonsus Health System in the amount of $600,000 are allocated to two projects — the ER remodel and a concurrent project for the physical therapy/occupational therapy department, which will be relocated to what was formerly the long-term care dining room and nurses station. That project is scheduled to be finished by the beginning of September.