Jefferson Healthcare hospital delays $20 million expansion in light of increasing cost estimates
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The expansion of Jefferson Healthcare hospital in Port Townsend has been delayed due to rising cost estimates. — Joe Smillie/Peninsula Daily News

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND –– Jefferson Healthcare hospital officials say a boom in Seattle construction has raised the cost of building to the point that they must delay their $20 million expansion project.

Mike Glenn, the hospital’s CEO, said Wednesday the Jefferson Healthcare commission agreed April 16 to put off the project by three months after learning that the cost of building a new emergency and specialty services building was well over estimates.

That means construction that was targeted to begin this fall will not begin until spring of 2015 at the earliest.

“Between the last two cost estimates, there was a significant increase,” Glenn said.

“That’s due, we believe, to the Seattle construction market heating up.”

CollinsWoerman, the Seattle architecture firm enlisted to design the new building, reported estimates on construction were as high as $18 million.

The hospital had planned $15.7 million for construction, Glenn said.

With equipment, furniture, taxes and design and permit costs, the overall project would cost as much as $22 million.

The new 50,000-square-foot wing would include upgrades to the emergency room and make more room for the oncology, orthopedics and cardiology departments.

It would also give the hospital a new entrance on Sheridan Street.

The hospital commission approved the expansion in October 2013 after the hospital secured a 3.5 percent loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fund $15.6 million of the project.

Glenn said the hospital plans to secure a separate loan to fund the balance.

The hospital does not plan to ask voters to fund the project through a property tax levy, Glenn said.

Hospital staff, along with the architects, now will review the project to see where they may find savings in building materials.

“Ultimately, this is going to be a good exercise because it’s going to make us revisit nearly every construction detail,” Glenn said.

“If you’re looking at a $16 million project, even a 10 percent reduction is significant.”

An example of such a change could be switching from a brick facade to a cheaper masonry facade.

“There’s probably hundreds of those decisions we are going to be reviewing as we sort of value-engineer the project,” Glenn said.

That review likely will be brought back to the hospital board in the fall.

Glenn said bids could be requested toward the end of this year, with groundbreaking in March of 2015.

In that case, completion would be pushed back from the end of 2015 to the summer of 2016.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 23. 2014 6:42PM
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