The connector is nearly complete, finished enough that visitors and staff could walk the upper and lower levels during the grand opening on Wednesday. CTH is aiming to have it finished between mid-August and late September.
Photo: Faith Evans / Nevada Appeal
There’s a glassy new walkway spanning Eagle Valley Creek, joining two Carson Tahoe Health buildings: the Regional Medical Center and Sierra Surgery.
For the first time since CTH acquired Sierra Surgery in 2015, staff and patients no longer have to walk or drive several minutes to get from one building to the other. Now, on average, a 2-minute, 15-second stroll across the Carson Tahoe Walkway gets folks where they need to be.
“It’s exciting to see this all come together,” said Michelle Joy, CTH vice president and CEO, during her grand opening speech for the bridge on Wednesday, July 14. “(We) look forward to seeing the difference it’s going to make for our patients, for our staff, for our physicians, and the community.”
The bridge — also known as the connector — has been in the works since 2016. In 2019, CTH broke ground on the project and though there were delays, construction was never halted during the pandemic, according to marketing manager Erin Meyering.
They’re hoping to fully open the walkway sometime between August and September.
Michelle Joy, Carson Tahoe Health vice president and CEO, addresses an audience of staff and board members. She got the crowd laughing when she said one of the hardest parts of the project was having to frequently close the Starbucks located inside CTH, right next to the new walkway. Photo: Faith Evans
Staff touring the connector mentioned how much easier it would be to transfer patients between the buildings for procedures – and how much easier it would be to get from the surgery center to the Starbucks inside the medical center for coffee breaks.
The bridge is roughly 500 feet long, according to Joy. Before, patients and staff moving between the buildings would have to drive about one-half mile from one parking lot to the other (either in their cars, an ambulance or a MedTrans), looping almost halfway around Medical Parkway.
The walkway also houses CTH’s expanded laboratory. Two registered nurses touring the bridge told an Appeal reporter how excited they are to have access to the lab. It’s roughly 9,800 square feet and will allow staff to take 2,100 orders per day, performing over 3 million tests yearly.
The connector bridges Eagle Valley Creek, cutting across the previously empty wash area. The walkway upstairs will primarily serve visitors and guests, while the lower level will allow staff to transfer patients between the two buildings quickly. Photo: Faith Evans
Right after Joy’s speech, Diane Rush, CTH marketing director, stood to thank Joy. She also commented on how smoothly the bridge connects the two architecturally different buildings.
“I was worried it was not going to match,” Rush joked with the audience. “But it does. (Joy) did a beautiful job. Hence, if you noticed, we nicknamed it the Bridge of Joy.”
And visitors seem to agree that it’s a joyous bridge to walk. With tall, windowed walls and mountain views, staff are hoping it’s a place where patients and loved ones can find some respite.
As walkway visitors exited the elevator at the end of the tour, one exclaimed, “Oh! That was nice.”