By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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“We will provide better facilities for several departments with a new building and will not need to float a bond issue for its financing,” said Mike Glenn.
Glenn presented the proposal for the 25-bed facility at 834 Sheridan St. to hospital commissioners Wednesday afternoon.
Commissioners, who are expected to consider action on the proposal by Sept. 18, made no comment Wednesday.
Glenn is hoping the new building, which would be attached to the Sheridan Street side of the hospital, will be financed through a U.S. Department of Agriculture rural community hospital loan that he characterized as “the smartest and cheapest money available.”
Glenn said Tuesday he is optimistic about receiving the loan, though if it doesn’t materialize, the hospital can pursue other funding sources.
“There are hospitals all over the country that are competing for this money, but this proposal is the kind of project that the USDA likes to support,” Glenn said.
“This represents a huge opportunity for the organization and the city,” he added.
“The challenge is that you don’t get too many shots at something like this, so we want to get it right.”
Community forums on the proposal will begin this month, and Glenn hopes to have the first patients seen in the new space by December 2015.
The new building would require the demolition of two older buildings now used for the human resources, information technology and performance-enhancement departments as well as storage and maintenance — all of which would be moved into the present main building.
The addition would create a gateway for all hospital services.
“We don’t really have a front door now,” Glenn said.
“This will provide a clear, intuitive start to all the services we provide.”
The front now is depicted as the Sheridan Street side, with three ways into the building, including the emergency room, while the main lobby area faces the water and is less accessible by car.
Glenn said the new Emergency and Special Services — or ESS — building would add about 50,000 square feet of usable space, replacing buildings that add up to about 30,000 square feet now used mostly for storage and maintenance.
The additional building would contain an orthopedic clinic, diagnostic imaging, oncology, medical short stay, labs, cardiology, sleep medicine and central registration.
A renovated emergency room would stay in the same location but be expanded into the new building.
Glenn said the planning process began in fall 2011 and is now focused on two aspects: the loan application and conducting a series of meetings to present the proposal to the public.
The community forums are scheduled for May 15 at the hospital auditorium, June 27 at the Northwest Maritime Center, July 10 at the Bay Club in Port Ludlow, Aug. 5 at the Quilcene Community Center and Aug. 28 at the Chimacum Community Center.
Glenn said board members will attend the meetings, all of which will be scheduled from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The results of the loan application will be available in mid-August.
A presentation to the commissioners about the entire process is planned for Sept. 4, with a staff recommendation as to whether to proceed.
If it were approved, then the design process would begin. Glenn expects that phase would be completed by July 2014.
Construction would take about 18 months, Glenn said.
Glenn said the hospital is in a good financial position for building the addition.
“We are in a good place, and this will pay for itself through our operations,” he said.
“Our reserves have increased from $7.3 million in 2010 to almost $17 million today, and our total assets have increased from $29 million to $46 million over the same period, so we can afford this.”
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.