ATLANTIC — Passers by the former Rex Pharmacy on Chestnut Street might have wondered what was going on with all the cardboard inside. Walls, desks and even patient exam rooms, built to be full size, have post it notes scattered around, and look a lot like a child’s playhouse, but it’s just a way to help visualize future work.

The cardboard creation is a mock up of work planned for the Cass County Memorial Hospital and Atlantic Medical Center and the CCMH Board of Trustees took a tour last week to get a special preview of what work planned in a large construction/remodeling project at the hospital will include.

Planned work includes a major remodel of the Atlantic Medical Center, along with work in the business office area, the Specialty Clinic and cancer treatment area and cafeteria.

Currently, Altman said, the medical center has suites of rooms connected by a maze of hallways leading into and out, a long with a single big waiting area, with check in windows.

When complete, the medical center will include four groups of rooms with check in areas along the east side of the atrium. Patients will check in and be directed to where to wait in a central hallway. Waiting areas will be located close to exam rooms for each suite of rooms. The patient exam rooms will be clustered around a central area for nurses and doctors.

The change will make it easier for patients to find their way in and out of the exam room and medical center, allows room for the addition of more providers and improves communication for staff.

Additional work is planned at the Specialty Clinics. The changes will allow for additional space for expanding cancer care at CCHS. It will double the number of infusion stations, enlarge the nurses station and more.

At the same time, changes made in the specialty clinic will improve the check in and check out area and add a physician’s station and exam and procedure rooms.

Business offices currently off the west side of the atrium, behind glass windows have outgrown their space and will move to the building which currently houses Southwest Iowa Mental Health and ZION Recovery.

The space left behind by that move will be made into a gift shop and coffee shop. Altman said most hospitals have their gift shops located near their entrance, and the CCMH Auxiliary has indicated the current location had resulted in lower foot traffic. The new location, along with the addition of a coffee shop would be a big plus.

Some additional work at the hospital’s cafeteria, to make customer traffic flow better, is also planned.

The trustees approved an architectural contract and a construction manager as advisor agreement during their meeting.

CCHS officials have been working with Bob Bisenius, a medical planner/architect with Shive-Hattery and with McGough, a general contractor and construction management firm.

Altman said the hospital and medical center was out of room, and planned improvements would make it easier for patients to find their way and would add much needed room for expansion of services.