Hospital construction looks on schedule
Construction of the new War Memorial Hospital along Fairview Drive is
moving along close to schedule, said War Memorial Hospital President Neil McLaughlin.
They are 8-10 months from moving in and opening the new facility, depending on how the construction proceeds, he said. The original projected date for completion was April 1, 2012. The new hospital groundbreaking occurred on June 4 last summer.
The exterior of the building and brick and stone work is mostly done. The glass windows are installed, excepted for the dining room area, McLaughlin said. The screening that hides the rooftop mechanical units still needs to be put in and a little trim still needs finished.
Crews last week backfilled topsoil by the front entrance stone walls and also worked on fixing the back roadway. Inside they did wiring, dry wall, painting and ceiling work.
Some second floor patient rooms have dry wall installed and have received a base coat of paint. Dry wall was coming in by the truckloads and was going up really fast, he said.
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning, plumbing, electrical and data wiring and delivery for medical gases are mostly done, but outlets aren’t installed yet. Mechanical items have been roughed in so they can dry wall around it. They’re still putting in a lot of the “guts” of the building, McLaughlin said.
Over the next two or three months, outside construction activities will include completion of the canopy roofs, landscaping (grass seeding and tree planting) and installation of exterior lighting and directional signs, said hospital Community Relations Director Lyn Goodwin.
Rooftop screening will be added and a top coat of blacktop will be put on the roadways and the parking lots, she said. Inside the building, dry wall will be completed and painting and flooring work will continue.
Worked around rain
Some construction activities like finishing roof seams fell behind since there was a lot of rain during the winter and spring. Dry wall and window work was delayed because ice, snow and moisture could get in, but it has now surged ahead, McLaughlin said.
Mechanical and other construction components were able to be done inside instead during the bad weather to keep them on schedule, he noted. Inside frame work got further ahead.
Some 21 out of 23 acute care/skilled care/rehab hospital rooms will be private. All but two of the long-term care rooms will be semi-private since those patients prefer having roommates, McLaughlin said. The acute care area will have three nursing stations.
The emergency department will have six rooms and two observation rooms. It also contains a new decontamination room required by code where someone could shower and be isolated if they were contaminated by insecticide or chemicals.
The new hospital will be a critical access hospital with a 24-hour emergency department, like the current one. There will be 25 in-patient beds that can be for acute care, skilled care or rehabilitation. That means the nature of patient’s care can change without them having to move to another room, McLaughlin said.
The facility will have 16 long-term care beds. All hospital rooms will be more spacious, more accessible and lighter, Goodwin said. The entire building has extensive natural light from the many windows in its design. They know that light assists with healing, McLaughlin said.
Outpatient services will all be on one floor. The distance to travel from the entrance to services will be greatly reduced, McLaughlin said. Patients will go in one door and their services will be located within 30 to 40 feet from that entrance. All parking is on one level.
The building is around 87,000 square feet in size, much larger than the current 53,000 square foot facility, he said. Areas such as the emergency room, laboratory, operating areas, radiology and physical therapy are much larger. The increased space will allow for enhancement of current services and future expansion of services.
There are three pre and three post operating rooms, one for endoscopies, and a 250 square foot cardiac training and treatment area.
The dining room area will seat 40 people and there will be an outside patio area that will seat 16 under four umbrella tables. Ambulance patients will enter through a rear entrance. The helipad is located behind the building.
The medical office building will contain the extended care wing. Windows look west so patients will see the sunsets over Warm Springs Ridge, McLaughlin said.
Security and privacy in the facility will also be improved. What areas are public and what ones aren’t will be clearly defined, he said.
They’ve been taking hospital staff out for construction tours to see their future department space. Of the eventual move to the new facility, “they’re excited and looking forward to it,” Goodwin said.