Media tour of new hospital building in Bishop

By early 2012, the Bishop area will enjoy a brand new hospital building.  The project started a few years back when the voters approved a bond measure for the building, which will be fully paid for with additional help from hospital profits.  This week, officials opened the doors of the new building for media tours.

The outside was recently unveiled from what amounted to a winter plastic wrap to retain heat and allow ongoing work.  Now unwrapped, the building has a nearly finished look with scaffolding erected to wrap up final details.

Inside, two-story ceilings and lots of glass show where the new lobby will go.  Project Manager Scott Hooker, Angie Aukee and Cheryl Underhill from the hospital guided me through the impressive structure., which even though it’s incomplete, appeared well organized.  The future recovery rooms came along first with very spacious accommodations.

Overhead throughout the new building, you can still view all of the incredible mass of wiring and utilities.  Yet to go in – communication cables.

Next in the downstairs organization is the operating room area with related  services.  All of these facilities are much larger and more modern than current hospital facilities.

On to the west lies the emergency room complex with a separate entrance for patients and other areas for the public and medical staff.  Once again – a vastly larger area than the current facility.

Upstairs, the new obstetrics department reveals a large lay-out with many private rooms for infant deliveries and an area to view the new babies.  Further north on the top floor are patient rooms.  Each of the 24 rooms are private with views to the outside.

A walk to the south brings visitors to the Intensive Care Unit.  Back outside, Ms. Aukee pointed out to us that there will be what they’re calling a healing garden – a beautiful, secluded place for family and visitors to rest.

The expansive, modern structure, when finished, will reveal a lot of windows, modern design and colors.  The color scheme will resemble that in the new imaging center which will be connected to the new hospital.  Currently, all is on schedule, and furniture should start going in at the first of next year.

Hospital Administrator John Halfen said that the guaranteed price for construction and management of the project was $62 million.  The bond issues and revenue bonds will pay for about $40 million.  Halfen said that hospital operations last year, this year and next year will have to pay for the rest.  “If we have good years,” he said, “they will.”  Halfen confirmed that the schedule is basically on time with plans to receive a certificate of occupancy late this year and a license to use the hospital by February next year.  Asked to describe the difference between the new hospital and the old, Halfen said, “Night and day!  The building we knocked down was constructed in 1946.”

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