Hospital exterior work completed, on schedule for March 1 opening

<I>Elane Dickenson/Chieftain</I><BR>Asphalt work at the new hospital site is in the final stages of completion in this recent photo.

The summery weather of the past couple weeks has been very welcome by the hardworking crews working on the new hospital, with all of the asphalt work completed within the last couple weeks.

Project manager Dan McCarty reported on the progress of the hospital construction at the Sept. 25 meeting of the Wallowa County Health District Board of Directors, and most of the news was good.

"The wood framing is basically done, with a few minor fixes," McCarty said, and gave a long list of construction elements that were done or almost done: exterior siding, roofing,

sheetrocking in the whole patient room and the obstetrics/surgery suite. "With just a few loose ends," he said more than once.

McCarty said that the objective is to get the building fully enclosed before the winter weather sets in.

He said that damage from a leak that occurred during a severe rainstorm in August is being addressed by the general contractor, in response to concerns that had been expressed. "Skanska (the contractor) isn't just going to cover it up," he said.

McCarty said that most of the glass is already installed in the new structure and expected to be completed in a couple of weeks.

"Then we'll be pretty well weatherized," he said, adding that the boiler is "going on line" Oct. 23 , with state inspectors here to watch. The boiler is being set up so that it "doesn't draw into the ductwork" at this time, McCarty said.

He said that completing the asphalt, "really changes the look of things," allowing everyone to see the traffic pattern and parking lots. He said that it will also make the entire site cleaner, which becomes more important as all of the construction work moves inside.

McCarty said that, at present, the hospital is on schedule for completion on March 1.

In other business at the district board meeting, directors were introduced to Lori Koby, new director of nursing for the Wallowa Valley Care Center (see separate story).

Financial officer Randall Anderson reported that the patient census in August was 10.4 patients, "nearly a patient ahead of last year," and the hospital as a whole had five percent more patients in the acute care beds and 12 percent above last year in the swing beds.

Glenna Underhill reported that the Wallowa Valley Health Care Foundation is planning to give a total of $25,000 - $12,000 from the foundation and $12,000 in pledges - for one room in the emergency room area to be named in memory of Jim Dawson. She added that the foundation's annual dinner/auction is scheduled on Nov. 11.

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