Work is nearing completion on the new waiting room for the emergency department at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center-Baker City.

It should be open by mid-November, said Laura Huggins, director of marketing and communications.

The new space is self-contained with a registration desk, 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.

At night, the door leading to the hospital will be locked, restricting access to only the emergency department.

“It will be a lot safer for colleagues and patients,” Huggins said.

The ER area is now completely walled off from the dining area, which was expanded during an earlier phase of the project.

The emergency department remodel started in August. The ER remained open although patients had to register through the hospital’s main entrance where an ER receptionist has been available 24 hours a day.

This process remains in place until the construction is finished. Signs are posted outside the entrance, as well as inside the hospital hallways.

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

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

The remaining funds came 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 also funded the project, along with a concurrent remodel for the physical therapy/occupational therapy department, which is now located in the former long-term care dining room and nurses station.

Festival of Trees

The 2019 Festival of Trees is Dec. 5-7 at the Baker County Event Center, 2600 East St.

Preview Among the Trees is Dec. 5 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $20 person. The evening features hors d’oeuvres, a no-host bar, and silent auction.

Limited tickets are available for the Dec. 6 gala, which starts at 5:30 p.m. with dinner, a no-host bar, silent and live auctions. Tickets are $60 per person and available at the hospital’s front desk or online at

Family Day is Saturday, Dec. 7. Entrance is a can of nonperishable food or an unwrapped toy.

Proceeds from this year’s festival will go toward the purchase of a cryostat for visiting dermatologists to perform Mohs surgery. In this skin cancer treatment, thin layers of cancer-containing skin are removed and examined until only cancer-free tissue remains.

Recommended for you

(1) comment


Kinda hard to see everyone - maybe thought twice before taking the picture and it would be nice to know who everyone is in the picture.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.