Remodeling underway at Samaritan Clinic

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Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald The Samaritan Hospital parking lot shows the impact of the ongoing construction. The building will house the hospital’s new MRI machine.

MOSES LAKE — The first phase of a $7 million remodel at Samaritan Clinic is underway, and there’s progress – and accompanying disruption – on the installation of a new MRI at Samaritan Hospital.

Hospital district commissioners will get a recommendation in July for a financial partner to work with them to obtain financing to build a new hospital. Construction was a topic of discussion at the regular commission meeting Tuesday. Chief executive officer Theresa Sullivan said remodeling at Samaritan Clinic started last week. The project will add an estimated 33 exam rooms, with additional waiting room space, and all administrative offices moved to another building.

Administrators have moved to a building across the street, and the patient billing department has moved there also. The billing department’s former location was on the hospital grounds, and Sullivan said hospital officials are discussing new uses for the space.

Commissioners also approved a project to open a family medicine clinic on Patton Boulevard in April. Town said the remodeling work hasn’t started yet. The goal is to have that clinic open by fall, he said.

Commissioners voted to build a new 50-bed hospital in March. Estimated cost for the hospital, before sales tax, is about $75 million. Chief administrative officer Alex Town said part of the job of the financial advisor will be to help hospital officials determine what they can afford.

Kelly Arduino, the consultant working with hospital officials to find financing, said the list of potential partners has been narrowed to five, down from the original 10 companies that sent proposals. The five remaining companies will be interviewed July 24, with a recommendation made to the commission at the July meeting.

The design process is already underway; Sullivan said the next design workshop will be June 4-6. The design team has been doing some additional work on the ideas from the last workshop, Sullivan said, and will provide their conclusions next week. The workshop will feature life-size mockups, which participants can move around as they test – and experiment with – the design.

Physicians will be invited to review and experiment with the design June 5. Hospital district patrons will be invited in June 6.

Part of the parking lot next to the hospital has been torn up for work on the new building housing the MRI machine. The actual MRI components are expected to arrive in mid-July, Sullivan said.

Hospital officials had chosen a different location inside the hospital, but Washington Department of Health officials rejected it. After considerable discussion a location was selected next to the emergency room. Demolition at the site has been completed and foundations are in the process of being poured for the new building.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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