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TMCNet:  $14 million improvement - SVDH moving forward with lab, cancer center addition

[January 31, 2013]

$14 million improvement - SVDH moving forward with lab, cancer center addition

Jan 31, 2013 (The Porterville Recorder - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Sierra View District Hospital Board of Directors voted to move forward with two large projects Tuesday during a special meeting in the SVDH boardroom.


The hospital's new laboratory, and an addition and remodeling of the Roger S. Good Cancer Treatment Center, were both approved and estimated to cost $4.76 million and $9.2 million, respectively.

During the meeting, Michael Kobaly, SVDH administrative director of general services, and Michael Nelson, Darden Architects senior project manager, offered an overview of the design elements for the hospital's new 8,000 square foot laboratory to be built on the corner of West Putnam Avenue and Carmelita Street, pointing out several features, including a large tree that was spared for beauty and neighborhood privacy, roof lines, and the fact that no windows would face the adjacent neighbor -- the final result looking as if it has always been a part of the neighborhood, Kobaly said. Present were several Carmelita Street residents who voiced approval of the final renderings.

The board listened as several laboratory areas were identified on the overall floor plan projected onto a screen. The drawing had high traffic areas, such as the phlebotomy and the blood bank areas, near the entrance. Other areas for chemistry, microbiology, molecular and miscellaneous chemistry, and walk-in coolers and an underground tube station to transport paperwork and other items between the emergency room and the new laboratory, and a planned walkway, were also identified.

"We have OSHPD (Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development) approval and we're ready to go," Nelson said when asked about its timeline.

Notifications for a general contractor are out, with bids opening Feb. 19 and a projected start time listed as March 1. Estimated costs were also listed as $4,763,901 -- $3.4 million of it for construction and $250,000 for contingencies. Equipment, soft costs, I.T. and $75,000 in administration costs making up the difference.

An updated report on the hospital's new linear accelerator, equipment for its cancer center, was also presented by Crystal Davis, director of the Roger S. Good Cancer Treatment Center.

In late August, the board approved a $4.5 million linear accelerator -- equipment used to destroy cancer cells while sparing normal surrounding tissue -- to replace an old model in dire need of replacing. The new Elekta Infinity approved by the board offers enhanced treatment options, reduced treatment times and minimized patient side effects, putting the Roger S. Good Cancer Center at the forefront of radiation therapy technology.

"It is the best patient experience without leaving the community," Davis said.

However, the new model came with a few challenges -- dealing with the construction phase, learning the new equipment and a possible four-month down time in the process, preventing patient treatment. Factors that raised the estimate to an approximate $6.2 million.

Davis talked to the board Tuesday about downtime cost options -- $1.28 million plus associated costs to rent a facility in Tulare; and $2.24 million to provide a temporary linear accelerator on site.

"We have limited capabilities and the lack of a long-term solution," she said referring to the lifespan of the equipment. "We will have the same thing in seven years." Davis and Kobaly offered a third option -- remodeling and an addition to the current center, including space for the new linear accelerator and a reorganized floor plan that would better serve patients and staff. In the end, the new option would prevent the loss of $2.4 million for a temporary solution that would have to be repeated in several years.

The estimated cost difference between an upgrade and an addition is approximately $3 million, Davis reported, quoting the upgrade as $6.2 million, and the addition -- a long-term solution that prevents redundancy for future equipment upgrades -- as $9.2 million.

Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.

___ (c)2013 The Porterville Recorder (Porterville, Calif.) Visit The Porterville Recorder (Porterville, Calif.) at www.recorderonline.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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