Maintaining a Hospital: Behind the Scenes at NEA Baptist

by Austin Hyslip

Courtesy of A-State Department of Media

550,000 square feet, over 150 beds — all taken care of by 14 guys.

“Those folks who keep the building up and running are as important as the doctors and the nurses and the other staff who are there,” patient Richard Carvell said.

He said without the people who keep NEA Baptist up and running, there would be no hospital.

“Well, the most important people in an institution like a hospital, a school are the janitors and the maintenance people,” he said.

NEA Baptist

NEA Baptist

NEA Baptist and its six stories feature a crew of 14 who work around the clock to make sure every patient is comfortable. Mark Ward, director of plant operations, said there’s a lot of things going on.

“We’re the guys who have to watch heating, cooling, water, sewer … everything that has to do with that basic function,” he said. “But then we also we also have those intricate functions of medical gases, electrical systems, pretty much any electrical system that has to do with medical equipment as well as just your normal outlets in the rooms and things like that.”

Ward said the job is never the same.

“We do everything from hanging a picture for someone in an office, to going up and checking what’s called isolation power monitors in an (operating room) suite to make sure that it’s safe providing power to that room,” he said.

NEA Baptist is prepared to handle multiple different healthcare situations. One thing most wouldn’t think of is an earthquake.

“This building is built under zone 4 earthquake standards,” he said.

All of pipes under NEA are built with braided line and sitting on rollers that allow the pipes to move without breaking. There are also shocks under all of the large appliances to allow them to absorb some of the shaking.

“The whole operation is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operation,” he said.

Ward and his team work every day to ensure the lights come on and the hospital is comfortable for every single guest.