BEND, Ore. - St. Charles Bend announced Monday it will construct a new patient tower that will significantly increase its number of critical care beds — a project that it said "positions the hospital to care for the communities it serves well into the next century."
The St. Charles Health System Board of Directors recently approved a $66 million project that includes the new patient tower, a new 500-space parking lot and second water line. Skanska and NBBJ Architects have been selected to complete the design and build.
"This project represents a significant investment in the future," said Board Chairman Dan Schuette. "It is a commitment by St. Charles to provide the high level of care our growing communities have come to expect."
The largest construction project since the St. Charles Cancer Center, the new patient tower will be located north of the existing ICU and stand four stories tall, with room for inpatient and emergency psychiatric services, a short-stay unit and space for additional critical care beds.
The planned expansion will result in a total of between 32 and 36 ICU beds in Bend — where the 18 existing beds are often full — nearly doubling the size of the existing nursing tower and having a significant impact on the overall look and feel of the health care campus.
Importantly, the project also includes the addition of a 500-stall parking lot to more comfortably accommodate the growing number of people seeking services at the hospital, as well as a second water line to build redundancy into the hospital's water supply.
"This project is so important for the future of health care in Central Oregon," said Joe Sluka, president and CEO of St. Charles Health System. "We're moving forward with a plan that will ensure we can continue to meet our patients' needs for many years to come."
Construction on the second water line and the 500-stall parking lot will begin in late summer or early fall. The new patient tower, if all goes according to plan, will open in 2018, and St. Charles said it will be reaching out to the community to support the project.
The Bend hospital acknowledged that it "is experiencing capacity issues, due partly to population growth and also because the health system has recruited more specialists in recent years that provide a higher level of complex care requiring intensive care hospital stays after surgery."
"Our vascular surgeon has patients coming from outside of the area to see him," said Bob Gomes, president of St. Charles Bend and Redmond. "We are adding to our heart and lung team and expect to see additional patients for those specialists as well. We want to make sure we can accommodate all of the patients who come to us for complex care."
Gomes told NewsChannel 21 the project was approved by the hospital board in April.
"We continue to do a master facilities plan on a regular basis," he said, "and with that, it really shows not only the growth of Bend but the growth of services."
Gomes said administrators are still working on a breakdown of the costs, but will be going out for bonds to help fund the work. He also said the expansion will increase the hospital staff -- already the largest area employer, topping 3,000 people - though by how much is still uncertain.
About St. Charles Health System
St. Charles Health System, Inc., headquartered in Bend, owns and operates St. Charles Bend, Madras, Redmond and Prineville. It also owns family care clinics in Bend, Prineville, Redmond and Sisters. St. Charles is a private, not-for-profit Oregon corporation and is the largest employer in Central Oregon with more than 3,800 caregivers. In addition, there are more than 350 active medical staff members and nearly 200 visiting medical staff members who partner with the health system to provide a wide range of care and service to our communities.