Jefferson Healthcare board OKs $20 million expansion project
By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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The five-member commission unanimously approved the measure Wednesday.
“Everyone feels this is the right thing to do,” said Chairman Marc Mauney after the meeting.
“We have a huge need for more space, and the upgrade of our facilities is long overdue.”
The design process will begin immediately. Construction is expected to begin in July.
The projected completion date is December 2015, CEO Mike Glenn told commissioners Wednesday.
The new Emergency and Special Services — or ESS — building will replace buildings that add up to about 30,000 square feet that are now used mostly for storage and maintenance.
The new addition will not increase the 25-bed capacity of the hospital at 834 Sheridan St. but will beef up three departments: oncology, orthopedics and cardiology, as well as expand the emergency room and create a new entrance on Sheridan Street.
The upgrades to the oncology, orthopedics and cardiology departments will make the new facility more appropriate for the changing needs of Jefferson County, Mauney said.
“Over the last three decades, we have changed our focus from inpatient care to outpatient care, so we don’t need any more beds,” Mauney said.
“The county is aging, and these three areas that we are upgrading are the ones that our patients will need.”
The new main entrance on Sheridan Street will be more convenient, Mauney said.
“Having the hospital entrance on the water side was a good idea, but it never really worked out,” he said.
“With the new addition, we will have a single entrance that will lead to all the services so people won’t have to be running around different corners of the hospital in order to get what they need.”
Another upgrade is the installation of several mental health “safe rooms” for patients who need such care.
“We don’t have a lot of mental health cases coming into emergency services, but when we do, it will be nice to be put in a place where they can be separated from the other patients,” Mauney said.
In addition to the three expanded departments and emergency room, the new building will contain diagnostic imaging, medical short stay, labs, sleep medicine and central registration.
The $20 million project will be financed by a $15.6 million, 3.5 percent loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with expenses not covered by the USDA loan to be financed by a separate loan from First Federal, according to Glenn.
Mauney said the rate is locked in, but the hospital administration is now unable to communicate with the USDA because of the partial federal government shutdown.
“We sent the letter that we have accepted the loan, but it hasn’t been acknowledged,” Mauney said.
“We are certain that everything will go through, but the fact that we cannot communicate with them now is a little unsettling.”
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: October 10. 2013 6:37PM