Hospital expansion plan to proceed with contractor

Posted: Monday, April 04, 2005

Alcan General Inc. has been awarded the $31 million contract to build the new wing of the hospital, the Central Peninsula General Hospital director of support services told the CPGH Inc. Board of Directors on Thursday.

"The notice to proceed was issued by the (Kenai Peninsula) Borough (Wednesday)," said Aaron Kotzin.

Depending on the weather, construction can begin this spring, according to Dave Gilbreath, hospital chief executive officer, who also said Alcan should have the shell of the building complete before the snows begin next fall.

"It will look 80 percent complete, but will actually be 35 percent complete," Gilbreath said.

"It will allow them to work inside through the winter. They'll be weathered in," he said.

The construction phase of the $49.9 million expansion calls for building a 74,000 square-foot, two-story wing with a basement. Construction is expected to take 14 months.

The planned expansion is being done in three phases and will include replacing the 33 existing multi-patient rooms with 50 single-patient rooms, adding two surgeries bringing the total number to four and going from one to two sterile-procedure rooms.

Phase 1 of the project, site preparation, was completed by the end of last year.

Kotzin said local subcontractors have been lined up to complete concrete, block, electrical, plumbing and steel work on the new building.

He also told the board of directors the offices of hospital administration have been moved to the Mundell Building at 245 Binkley St.

"The plan is, in Phase 3 (of the expansion), to bring administration back to the old patient area," Kotzin said.

In other business, interim Chief Financial Officer Mike Haggerty told the board the average daily patient census in February was 19.11 compared with a budgeted 22.21.

He said hospital department directors were contributing to the financial bottom line by "doing a good job" of limiting overtime hours, but said health insurance costs remained high.

Operating income for February was $322,816, compared with a budgeted $55,089, and for the year to date was $271,694, compared with a budgeted loss of $579,785.

Debi Honer, vice president of Human Resources, told the board the employee turnover rate in 2004 was 13.4 percent, down from 24.6 percent in 2002.

She said this year, the hospital is planning training to address customer service improvement and will conduct additional computer training for employees.

In his CEO report, Gilbreath told the board that administration "is working real hard to make this a tobacco-free campus this year."

A hospital committee working toward that end has set Sept. 5 as its target date, board members were told. On that day, the smoke shack where employees and patients may now go to have a cigarette, will be demolished.

Eventually the entire facility is to be smoke-free, according to Gilbreath, including the parking lots.

Gilbreath also acknowledged the accomplishment of Kathy Lopeman, oncology department supervisor, who raised more than $20,000 with the "Way Out Women" snowmachine rally.

The money will be used to help people undergoing cancer treatment with such uninsured expenses as premedications for chemotherapy, babysitting costs for people in treatment and transportation costs for getting people to treatment.

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