Construction projects continue despite subzero temperatures

Posted: Thursday, December 01, 2005


  Stairs lead to the second floor of Central Peninsula General Hospital's expansion, just inside the new entrance. The expansion should be completed by fall 2006. Photo by John Hult

Stairs lead to the second floor of Central Peninsula General Hospital's expansion, just inside the new entrance. The expansion should be completed by fall 2006.

Photo by John Hult

With many days of subzero temperatures, winter is not usually thought of as the construction season in Alaska.

A number of building projects around Soldotna, however, are continuing this month despite winter’s icy grip.

In addition to the continuing high-profile construction projects such as the Kenai River bridge and the Central Peninsula General Hospital expansion, work is progressing on the million-dollar-plus Fred Meyer Store remodel, the new emergency operations center on Wilson Avenue, the Custom Seafood Processors Inc. building on the Kenai Spur Highway and a new Hutchings Chevrolet building going up on the Sterling Highway across from the main dealership.

When complete, the new Kenai Peninsula Borough emergency operations center will house the borough’s Office of Emergency Management, administration offices of Central Emergency Services and the emergency 911 dispatch center.

David Gibbs, borough emergency manager, said his department will have three offices in the new center and will share common areas such as a copy room and a meeting-conference room with the building’s other tenants.

OEM expects to move out of its temporary mobile office units behind the Borough Building sometime next summer, between the end of June and August, Gibbs said.

Custom Seafood Processors owner Lisa Hanson said the new 12,000-square-foot building being built on the Spur Highway will replace the four buildings the business currently occupies a few blocks south on the highway.

The company’s showroom and sales facilities currently in its blue-and-white, cottage-like building will be moved into the front 2,000 feet of the new building, which also will feature its taxidermy showroom and gift shop, Hanson said.

She said she hopes to be in the new building by the end of February.

Hutchings Chevrolet is adding a 9,432-square-foot building across from the car dealership on the Sterling Highway near the Soldotna “Y.”

The building will include retail space, a new auto detailing shop and a lube shop. Occupancy is expected for sometime this spring, according to Soldotna building officials.

CPGH Chief Executive Officer David Gilbreath said the hospital expansion project is ahead of schedule.

Phase 2 of the project — the two-story building being erected along Fireweed Avenue — is “shelled in, and they’ve got some heat in there so they’ll be able to keep working through the winter,” Gilbreath said.

The 82,000-square-foot building will include 50 single-patient rooms.

“We’re looking at completion in August or September,” Gilbreath said Tuesday. “By contract, (the builders) have until next Christmas.”

Gilbreath also said design work has resumed on Phase 3 of the hospital expansion, which will involve remodeling the existing hospital building.

The remodel includes moving the hospital’s cafeteria from the basement to the ground floor, adding outpatient treatment rooms, moving administrative offices back to the hospital from their temporary quarters on Binkley Street and bringing the physical medicine facility back from an off-site location on the Spur Highway.

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