Changes are being made to the first phase of a planned expansion at Salem Memorial District Hospital to address pressing needs, the hospital board was told Tuesday night.

Administrator Kasey Lucas said replacement of the hospital’s original generator, a new water heater and water softener and plumbing improvements including replacing the sewer main have been added to the plans as priority items.

The project, now in the engineering phase, originally included moving several departments to accommodate a centralized imaging area where the new MRI machine would be housed.

New plans are to put the MRI in a new brick and mortar addition to the rear of SMDH. That space could eventually be expanded to include the CT unit and create a new imaging area, he said.

Still in the plans are a new outpatient registration and business office area, along with a new hallway and exit to meet life safety codes.

The savings created by eliminating some of the department moves will allow the MRI addition and other improvements without increasing the estimated $1.8 million project cost, he said. The contract still calls for a May 31 completion date.

For more details, see next week’s issue of The Salem News.