• 59°

Mayo to begin temporary valet parking in Austin

As construction progresses at Mayo Clinic Health Systems — Austin, the hospital is taking steps to further accommodate patients and visitors.

The hospital will offer valet parking on weekdays to accommodate patients or visitors who otherwise might have been using the handicap parking spaces next to the building. This service is particularly valuable for patients and visitors who find it difficult to walk long distances, have an injury that limits their mobility, or parents with young children.

“We are pleased to offer this service to our patients in light of all the construction taking place on campus,” says Kris Johnson, Vice Chair of Administration for both Albert Lea and Austin campuses.  “We hope this will aid our patients and visitors getting to and from our facility easier during this time of exciting change. The valet services are made possible through the generous donation of time given by of our Auxiliary volunteers who will be providing these services.”

The service utilizes six volunteers, each working four hour shifts.

“We’re still learning and we may have a higher number of volunteers,” said Kari Hall, volunteer coordinator. “We may have a second person overlap.”

Those utilizing the valet service will pull up at the circle drive in front of the main entrance where they will receive a voucher. The volunteer will then drive the vehicle to specified parking spaces in the main lot.

Linda Myer is one of those volunteers and despite the short amount of time it’s been in service, has heard many saying they welcome the service.

A sign marks one of the parking spaces specifically for people making use of Mayo Health Systems —Austin valet parking. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

“There have been two that I’ve parked today,” Myer said Tuesday morning, the first day of the service. “There have been 5-6 others who we’ve told who say they will definitely use it.”

The valet service will run between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, however; on days during the winter wehn the area is experiencing inclement weather the service may not be active. Hall said that it’s hospital police that on those days school has been called, volunteers are not required to come in.

“If schools are closed the service may not be available,” Hall said.

After the addition is completed and the equipment is moved, the original handicapped spaces that have been relocated to the main lot, will be moved back to the original location next to the building. It’s still up in the air, however; whether or not the hospital will keep the valet service past the construction.

“We’ll assess the program more at that time,” Hall said.

The valet service is being implemented temporarily because the handicapped-accessible parking spaces that were located near the front entrance were moved to accommodate heavy equipment and construction materials for the construction on the addition of the building that will house new elevators connecting the north clinic elevators to the newly remodeled Medical/Surgical Unit and Family Birth Center.

This new addition also will include waiting rooms on both floors and a warm, calming environment for families and friends of loved ones who are in the hospital.

The construction of this addition is tentatively scheduled for completion midway through 2020.

To learn more about the transitions or changes occurring at Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea and Austin, visit the Mayo Clinic Health System website.