Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Open House at Mayo's New Hospital a Huge Hit; Thousands Turn out to See the New Health Facility That Is Due to Open April 12

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Open House at Mayo's New Hospital a Huge Hit; Thousands Turn out to See the New Health Facility That Is Due to Open April 12

Article excerpt

Byline: MAGGIE FITZROY

People jammed into an elevator at Mayo Clinic's new hospital Sunday afternoon on their way to the operating room.

"The line for surgery is backed up and long," Mayo spokeswoman Cindy Nelson called out.

But they weren't awaiting surgery. They were just awaiting a look.

Several thousand people toured the hospital during a four-hour open house at the $254.6-million, 650,000-square-foot facility slated to open Saturday, April 12.

Nelson told the crowd on the elevator that if they wanted, they could skip that section of the tour.

"That's OK, we want to see it," a woman replied. When they got off the elevator, those in the crowd all made their way through a packed hallway to the operating room line.

"I think everybody's fascinated to come into an operating room because it's [usually] a restricted, red line area," said Nursing Director Rene Grosdidier, who answered visitors' questions as they came through.

Visitors walked through the lobby, emergency department, patient care unit rooms, surgery department, and pre- and post-operative care areas. As many as 3,500 people were expected for Sunday's tour, Nelson said.

Construction of Mayo Clinic's Jacksonville campus began in 1986 for research, education and outpatient services, but hospitalized patients were treated at St. Luke's Hospital, 12 miles away.

Plans for an on-campus hospital began in 1999, said Chief Executive Officer George Bartley, who is also a surgeon. The ground-breaking was in November 2005.

Now that the hospital is ready for patients, officials offered the public the opportunity to take a look before Mayo becomes a busy place filled with doctors, nurses, emergencies and surgeries.

Musicians played music throughout the facility and appetizers and desserts were offered at the end of the tour.

As people walked through the lobby, they gazed upward at a colorful chandelier by renowned glass sculptor Dale Chihuly.

They snaked through the 21-bed emergency department, which they learned is open to anyone who needs emergency services, whether or not they are a Mayo patient. …

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