An artist rendering gives an idea of what the new patient tower at Tift Regional Medical Center will look like once completed.

An artist rendering gives an idea of what the new patient tower at Tift Regional Medical Center will look like once completed.

TIFTON — A portion of 18th Street, from Lee Avenue to Old Ocilla Road, is set to close Sept. 16 to accommodate the construction of the new patient tower at Tift Regional Medical Center.

John Orr Drive, which runs parallel to Lee Avenue and intersects with 18th Street, will also be closed to through traffic, and the intersection of John Orr Drive and 18th Street will be closed.

Patients and visitors will park in the large parking lot on the corner of 20th Street and Old Ocilla Road, and employees will have access to a new parking lot on the corner of Lee Avenue and 18th Street, as well as the current employee parking lot on the corner of 18th Street and Old Ocilla Road.

To help accommodate patients, visitors, and employees with the new parking arrangements, volunteers will provide golf cart shuttles from parking areas to the hospital. The shuttle service will be available from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., as long as a volunteer is available.  To be picked up by the shuttle service, simply dial 229-353-CART.

Once the portion of 18th Street closes, the 18th Street Lobby will be closed as well. Patients, visitors, and employees will be redirected to the 20th Street lobby, where both the information desk and gift shop have already moved.

While the serving line in the cafeteria will remain open, seating in the dining room will no longer be available beginning on September 16th.

“We apologize for the inconvenience closing 18th Street may cause patients and visitors, but we look forward to being better equipped to meet the needs of the community once the new patient tower is completed,” said Alex Le, chief operating officer for Tift Regional Health System.

“This will allow us to have a larger emergency center and more private patient rooms in the long run, and we appreciate the community’s patience as we work to make that happen.”

Once the tower is completed, it will add approximately 263,000 square feet to the existing hospital. The first floor of the new tower will house the new emergency center, with inpatient units, including a new intensive care unit, on the second, third, and fourth levels of the new tower.

The construction project will also allow for some renovations to the current hospital to make a seamless transition from the existing part of the building to the new tower area.

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