The process took a year to complete, but the Food and Nutritional Services (FANS) Department of Memorial Hospital in Abilene has a new freezer and walk-in cooler combination unit. The challenges of getting the unit, shelving, shipping, and delivery all delayed the completion of the project. The new unit was needed because the old walk-in freezer and several individual refrigerators needed to be replaced in the kitchen.
Due to the age of the previous units, they were needing to be worked on often because of various problems. When food is involved, proper working equipment is very important, and the decision to replace the aging units was both a safety and cost-saving measure.
“The freezer and walk-in cooler benefits us greatly in the kitchen, as we no longer have multiple freezers and refrigerators that we have to run to for items,” said Lindsey Rimmel, Lead Cook in Food and Nutritional Services. “It cuts down on the amount of time it takes to do an order too, since everything is together. We also don’t have our maintenance department or outside companies coming in to fix things all of the time, which helps save money and allows them time to take care of other things within the health system,” she continued. When the old unit was removed, it opened up more room in their storeroom to move things around and allow them to be better organized. “The maintenance team did a fantastic job removing the old freezer, tiling the floor where it once was, painting the walls, and fixing the ceiling,” Rimmel said. “It was a long process, but we finally got to the finish line with it.”
The new freezer and walk-in cooler unit was constructed on site at Memorial Hospital and is attached to the hospital on the north side. Part of the courtyard on that side of the hospital had to be torn out, including the removal of a large tree and gazebo. “We had to remove a wall in the cafeteria storeroom to make a door opening for the walk-in unit,” said Herman Hoffman, with the Memorial Health System Maintenance Department. “We also had to remove the retaining wall outside, move a gas line, install a concrete pad and sidewalk, and after the new cooler was installed, we removed the old unit, and installed new tile flooring.”
Work was wrapped up on the unit towards the end of last year, and the FANS employees are now using it to the fullest.