A new laboratory for Central Peninsula General Hospital could open next year, if all goes according to plans.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough closed bidding for the design of a 4,000-square-foot building Wednesday. Rob Robson, borough major projects director, said it is too early to predict the cost, but $175 per square foot would by typical for a building of that type. That would put the cost at about $700,000.
The new laboratory will be a single-story building attached to the hospital by a hallway, Robson said.
"It could be a modular building. It would be designed this winter. As soon as we have a design, we can go out for bid."
Groundbreaking would be in spring. If the building is modular, installation could be rapid, he said.
Marty Richman, hospital chief executive, said the hospital has outgrown its present lab, which was installed about 15 years ago.
"The lab's volume and the types of tests offered have expanded," he said. "They're just out of space."
The lab offers testing services to detect disease from samples of everything from blood to urine. Paul Thackard, lab director, said new equipment added during the last few years includes a floor-model amino chemistry analyzer, a new computer network with eight work stations and three printers, a urine dipstick analyzer, a fresh-frozen plasma thawing machine, two blood culture analyzers and several centrifuges.
"We were crowded three years ago before all those things were added," he said. "We've become experts in space utilization."
The new building will be almost twice the size of the present 2,100-square-foot lab. It will allow better spacing of equipment and give laboratory technicians room to work, Richman said.
In other hospital business:
n CPGH Inc., the nonprofit corporation that leases and operates the borough-owned hospital, recently appointed Soldotna City Manager Tom Boedeker to its board of directors. Boedeker replaces Dolly Farnsworth, who retired from the board Aug. 31. He will finish the remainder of her term, which continues for a little more than a year.
"Tom brings experience with governmental agencies. ... He brings a well-rounded viewpoint," said Diana Zirul, CPGH Inc. president.
Other applicants for the board seat included Medicenter administrator Peter Birkholz of Nikiski, retired nurse Gloria Wisecarver of Soldotna, National Bank of Alaska manager John Hoyt of Soldotna, teacher-administrator Connie Wheat of Soldotna and retired teacher Susan Jelsma of Soldotna, who has sat for the last two years on the Central Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area Board.
"They were all excellent candidates. It was a very difficult choice," Zirul said.
n The board chose Richard Hoogland to replace Farnsworth as its vice president.
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