South Peninsula Hospital expansion project put on diet

Posted: Monday, March 06, 2006

The troubled South Peninsula Hospital construction project is expected to go out to bid by the second week in March, Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor John Williams said.

At a Homer Chamber of Commerce luncheon Tuesday, Williams said the project that appeared “headed for the deep six” late last year, was now well on the road to fruition, thanks largely to the efforts of hospital service area and operating board members, hospital administrators and the borough, which collectively succeeded in resurrecting the project — albeit smaller in size.

Under an agreement between the borough and Rim Architects reached in December, Rim was paid $130,000 in January after demonstrating the project could be restructured to meet the $12.5 million budget.

To accomplish that, a patient room addition was cut from the design, leaving in the project a new emergency entrance and all improvements originally intended within the core hospital. Also included will be the addition of an extended hallway along the north side and an enlarged materials handling area on the lower level, the mayor said.

A Wednesday deadline has been set for producing acceptable bid documents. Rim gets another $130,000 at that time.

Advertising on the project would begin March 9 and bid documents would follow a few days later. The intended bid date is April 28, with award of the project to the winning bidder expected on May 16. Work could begin as early as June 1, Williams said. Completion could take 18 months.

As far as the excised addition to the patient room is concerned, the borough is not abandoning the idea. But building it would require the community’s help and willingness to vote for a bond measure, Williams said.

Once the borough determines how much money will be left after the project is completed, it will know what would be necessary to add the patient room addition.

“It is my intention to come to you in the community and say, ‘Let’s go along with a tag-along bond at the October election,’” Williams said.

He suggested the bond should be less than $5 million and expressed confidence that service area voters would support it. Homer needs a good hospital, he said.

Designs for the patient room addition are virtually complete and that job could be put out to bid almost immediately upon approval of a bond by voters, he said.

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