Red Cross considers moving to office with more space

Saturday, November 23, 2002

More space would mean blood donations could be taken on a more regular basis.

By Bob Miller ~ Southeast Missourian

Southeast Missouri residents who give blood regularly won't have to wait for blood drives in the near future.

Local and regional American Red Cross officials announced Friday that plans are in the works for the blood distribution center to switch locations to a bigger building, perhaps across the street from the local chapter's current address at 2430 Myra, a dead-end street off Broadview.

The Red Cross is also looking at other locations.

"We are in the infancy of this entire process and to be most fiscally responsible, we have to have a minimum of three bids," said Mary Burton, the executive director of the Southeast Missouri Red Cross. Burton added the building would have to be visible, accessible and in close proximity to the hospitals.

A bigger building would mean the local Red Cross could set up a fixed site where blood could be taken on a much more regular basis.

David Palmer, territory manager of donor services for Southeast Missouri, said no details have been worked out yet as far as the operating hours of a fixed site. He said it would start off on a small scale and workers would adjust depending on the number of donors.

Burton said blood donations would be done by appointment.

"Our donors have asked repeatedly to do something to make it more convenient to give blood," said Peggy Kitchen, the supervisor of the regional Red Cross blood distribution center.

Currently, the blood distribution center is housed under the same roof as the Red Cross' chapter on Myra. As services have expanded, both branches of the Red Cross -- the distribution center and the chapter -- have grown.

The building is crammed. Filing cabinets are set in the foyer, desks are tightly together and a single training room has little room for hands-on instruction.

"We outgrew the building before we even moved into it," Burton said. "We've gotten to a point where we need to grow. For example, we have such a demand for health and safety classes like CPR classes. We don't have room to do all the classes. The new building would allow us to have two rooms."

Kitchen said her department could use more space too. She said the blood distribution center needs more room to store blood.

Cape Girardeau is the home of one of only five distribution centers in the Missouri-Illinois region. Approximately 6,000 units of blood are donated in Southeast Missouri annually, and the Cape Girardeau distribution center serves 28 hospitals in Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois.

Though officials have their eye on a building at 2437 Myra, an office building that is up for lease, it would have to go through a number of screenings by several organizations before anything is made official. Burton said the move could be made this summer.

The announcement of the moving plans was made during an informal question-and-answer session with regional Red Cross volunteers and officials as part of an educational meeting at the Holiday Inn. The meeting was called "Blood 101" and was attended by top Red Cross officials in the Missouri-Illinois region.

The region's chief executive officer, Christine Bales, a top lab official and a hospital service manager, spoke about the process of donating blood, beginning with donor recruitment and ending with patient care.

335-6611, extension 127

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