PORT ANGELES — Olympic Medical Center will break ground on its emergency room expansion Monday.
The $1.79 million construction project will expand the emergency room from 14 beds to 20 beds.
OMC commissioners awarded a bid last month to Rush Commercial of Gig Harbor to expand the existing facility by 2,800 square feet to the south.
The parking area between the hospital and Caroline Street will be reconfigured next week to accommodate the addition.
“The front of the hospital where you can drive through now will be blocked at the main entrance,” Chief Executive Officer Eric Lewis announced at the OMC commissioners’ meeting Wednesday.
“If you do come down in front of the hospital, you’re going to have to do a three-point turnaround and go back the same way you came because it will be blocked for five days to cut out the turn onto Caroline.”
Caroline Street itself will remain open.
The main parking lot east of the hospital at 939 Caroline St. will not be impacted by construction.
The expansion, which is funded by a 20-year loan, should help alleviate delays that patients have experienced in the emergency room, officials have said.
Once completed in March, the facility will have secure rooms for mental health and drug- and alcohol-addicted patients.
“We’re excited,” Lewis said. “But it will be [congested] for a while.”
In other OMC news, the seven commissioners Wednesday unanimously approved an interlocal agreement with the city of Port Angeles to provide a second electrical feed from a different grid to the hospital and to replace a pair of aging transformers.
OMC approved a maximum amount of $100,000 in April, but the two bids the city received came in well above the maximum.
OMC commissioners approved a new not-to-exceed amount of $192,779.
“They want to rebid it and hopefully get amounts below that,” Lewis said.
Hospital officials budgeted $175,000 this year for the infrastructure upgrades.
“In the event of a natural disaster, the residents of this county expect the lights in the hospital to be on,” Commissioner Tom Oblak said.
“And although that second feed won’t guarantee that, it greatly increases our chances of that happening.”
Said Lewis: “It gives the city a lot more options on how to restore our power should it go out.”
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@peninsula