Red Cross opens new headquarters

Mark Beddingfield welcomes all to the new Alabama and Gulf Coast American Red Cross headquarters May 23. (Reporter photo/Christine Boatwright)

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

INDIAN SPRINGS – As Mark Beddingfield cut through the improvised ribbon made out of coban wrap, he welcomed all to tour the new headquarters of Alabama and Central Gulf Coast American Red Cross Blood Services in Indian Springs.

Beddingfield, the chief executive officer of the region, said the former headquarters was in downtown Birmingham, in Southside.

“We did a marketing study, and most of our donors are within a certain mileage of this area,” he said of Indian Springs.

Beddingfield said he hopes the new headquarters, located off Caldwell Trace, will be a place in the community for people to gather. The American Red Cross was renting the former headquarters building, but was able to purchase the Indian Springs location. The building offers community conference rooms for public use.

The  region encompasses the state of Alabama, as well as seven counties on the Mississippi coast and 10 counties on the Florida panhandle.

Quality Director Marc Nelson leads a tour through the new American Red Cross headquarters. (Reporter photo/Christine Boatwright)

“We’re mimicking the move of folks from the city to the suburbs,” said Communications Program Manager Evan Duffy.

The grand opening offered a “Taste of Indian Springs,” and food from Brava’s, Shane’s Rib Shack, Bruster’s and Winn Dixie was located through different points of interest on the tour of the headquarters.

The headquarters was in use in March, but the official ribbon cutting on May 23 was a way to “throw back the curtains,” Duffy said.

“People typically see the donor center, but see none of the operation,” he said.

In addition to a donor center, the building also houses a hospital service department, therapeutic services and a reference lab, which assists hospitals in locating donors with rare blood types.

Beddingfield said Memorial Day weekend begins a “downturn” in donations, as residents look toward vacations.

“The need is really great right now,” he said.

The new donation center, located at 700 Caldwell Trace off Caldwell Mill Road, will be open Monday-Tuesday from noon-8 p.m.; Wednesday-Thursday from 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. and Friday from 7 a.m.-1 p.m.