CPH takes first step on $37.5M medical office building

Central Peninsula Hospital is seeking permission from the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly to take the first step toward completion of a new $37.5 million medical office building on its Soldotna campus.

 

Ordinance 2012-19-42, which was introduced at the assembly’s last meeting, seeks approval for the hospital to pull $3.3 million from its Plant Replacement and Expansion Fund to fund the engineering and design of the proposed three-story, 72,760-square-foot building. If approved, the center would open in the fall of 2015.

A public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for Feb. 5 at the borough assembly chambers in Soldotna.

“It is a little bit of an estimate because we don’t know what the real cost of the building is going to be because it hasn’t been designed yet,” said CPH Chief Executive Officer Rick Davis. “We have rough schematics and concept drawings upon which we have based an estimate of the project.”

The hospital had originally intended to build the new medical office building and the radiation oncology building together as they will be integrated in the future.

However, competing proposals that sprouted in early 2012 for a cancer center from CPH and Anchorage-based radiation oncologist Dr. John Halligan changed those discussions and fragmented the hospital’s plans.

When the two entities reached a deal, construction on the radiation oncology portion of the building was expedited to meet Halligan’s more immediate timeframe, Davis said.

The new building will house a number of new services and hospital equipment, he said.

In addition to the convenience of having a nearby office for select physicians, the building will house all of the cancer center’s components that are in addition to the radiation oncology building and additional imaging services.

“We will have an expanded infusion center and cancer resource library and cancer research capabilities and everything that goes along with a full, comprehensive cancer center,” he said.

Davis said the center will also permanently house the hospital’s popular and growing spine program led by Dr. Craig Humphreys.

“We are working toward becoming a center of excellence or a destination for spine care,” he said.

Although the hospital will submit the whole project to the state’s Certificate of Need office, Davis said only certain pieces of it — such as adding a second MRI machine or expanding infusion services — would require CON approval.

“The project itself does not hinge on a CON,” he said. “We still need the medical office building and if the state were to say, no, we don’t need any more infusion beds than we currently have, we would have to scale that back.”

Once the two-and-a-half-year medical office building project has been completed, Davis said the hospital will likely rest its ongoing growth campaign for a while.

“We’ve got probably a 20-year master planning process that we try to keep updating all the time and it began back in 2003 and there are plans for additional things after this, but they are vague at this point and just in the conceptual stage,” he said. “We want to make sure each of these steps we are taking fit into the long range plan.”

Brian Smith can be reached at brian.smith@peninsulaclarion.com

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