PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson Healthcare’s new Emergency and Special Services building is part of a community wide face-lift and will impact more than just local health care, according to the hospital’s CEO.
“What is quietly happening in our community is a massive investment in education, health and wellness, health care and many other social services important to our quality of life,” Mike Glenn said during a ceremonial groundbreaking for the new facility Monday.
“While this building is a huge deal for Jefferson Healthcare, it’s just part of the picture for Jefferson County, and we need to keep focused on all the other pieces until our work is done.”
Aside from the 50,000 square-foot, $20 million building that could open for patients as soon as next summer, Glenn cited Peninsula College — scheduled to open its new branch in fall 2016 — and the YMCA’s new facility as partners in this progress.
“This building is not only an investment in Jefferson Healthcare, it’s an investment in Jefferson County,” Glenn said.
About 50 people, consisting of hospital staff, elected officials and stakeholders, attended the event, next to the 3,000-square-foot building that is due for demolition in order to make way for the new facility.
The new building will change access to the hospital, moving the main entrance to the Sheridan Street side instead of the less convenient waterside entrance now in use.
It will also include an expanded emergency department, an orthopedic clinic, and an improved and dedicated cardiology services space supporting the latest in cardiac test procedures.
It will also include a modern cancer treatment center and infusion services area where patients will look out on a water view while receiving chemotherapy treatment.
A comprehensive women’s imaging center with the newest equipment in 3-D mammography, ultrasound and bone density scanning is also part of the plan.
The new building will be completed and ready for patients in summer 2016 while the renovation of other departments will take another four months to complete.
“We are not going to be just another pretty face in town,” said hospital board chair Jill Buhler of the building.
“Thanks to our improved services and our new state-of-the-art technology, our brains will be just as beautiful as the outside.”
“Organizations are defined more by the quality of their people than by the quality of their facilities,” Glenn said.
“However, it is intellectually dishonest to claim that facilities don’t matter. If you are committed to excellence, you are committed to quality buildings and facilities.”
“In rural areas, hospitals are the pillar that health care hangs off of,” said state Rep. Steve Tharinger, D-Sequim.
“With our demographic and service mix, it’s exciting to see Jefferson Healthcare take this effort to enhance facilities and services, which will really improve the quality of health care in Jefferson County.”
Architect Phil Giuntoli provided his own evaluation of the schedule.
“There are two really exciting parts of a project, the groundbreaking and the ribbon cutting,” he said.
“We’ll see you in about 16 months.”
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.