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Kitsap Sun: Rooms With a View: Future Harrison Hospital Embraces Surroundings
February 19, 2018
by Tad Sooter
The appeal of Harrison Medical Center's Silverdale campus was obvious from the top of a construction crane looming 250 feet above the project site.
Scanning the horizon from the gently-swaying apparatus Thursday, the Seattle skyline could be seen far to the east. A break in the clouds allowed a glimpse of Olympic peaks to the west. The full, gleaming expanse of Dyes Inlet stretched to the south.
"We're going to take advantage of all the views," Harrison President David Schultz said, shouting to be heard above the wind.
The crane stood not much taller than the highest floor of Harrison Silverdale's future hospital tower, which will rise about 180 feet when it's completed in 2019. Every patient room in the tower will feature a large, outward facing window, allowing occupants to look out over the peninsula.
Hospital executives say the $500 million hospital has been designed to embrace its natural surroundings in ways its Bremerton counterpart did not, opening views to make stays more pleasant for patients, and harnessing the generous southern exposure to cut down on energy costs.
"We've been graced with an amazing site," said John Elswick with Harrison parent company CHI Franciscan Health.
On ground level, construction was humming. Lead contractor Howard S. Wright Construction already employs dozens of workers on the project. More than 500 will report to the Myhre Road site each day when construction hits its peak.
Builders threaded between pillars and exposed conduit on the bottom floor of the tower Thursday, where the hospital's cafe, laboratory and other facilities will be located. A truck and boom pumped fresh concrete onto a deck on the floor above.
Project superintendent Greg Rosinksi said the entire hospital has already been constructed virtually. The company used a computer modeling system to assemble the structure in 3D and root out problems in the plans.
Identifying design glitches early should save money and precious time in the construction process, Rosinski said. Materials like piping are delivered to the project site cut, labeled and ready to install, further speeding the build.
"It's just like putting a puzzle together," Rosinski said.
Over the next two years, crews will assemble a new emergency department, helipad, cancer center and diagnostic imaging center, in addition to hundreds of private patient rooms. A separate building that will provide office space for specialists is planned adjacent to the new tower. An already-completed parking garage fits 787 vehicles — more than all the parking stalls at Harrison's flagship hospital in East Bremerton.
The new Silverdale hospital is slated to begin accepting patients in January 2020, allowing CHI Franciscan to close the Harrison Bremerton campus.
CHI Franciscan officials say a facility built to save lives will also save energy.
Expanses of glass will capture all the fleeting sunlight the Northwest has to offer, reducing heating costs. Shades will block the sun during hot summer days to save on cooling. Plumbing installed will use recycled water for non-drinking applications.
Officials claim the new Harrison Silverdale will use 50 percent less energy than the typical hospital.
"It could be one of the most energy-efficient hospitals in the country," Elswick said.
Some materials pulled from the site are being repurposed in the project. Contractors have set aside a pile of boulders that were excavated from the hillside that will be used to accent a "healing garden" in the center of the campus. Trees felled to make way for construction are being milled into lumber for counter tops and facades inside the hospital.
Clear Creek Trail, which was rerouted during construction, will have multiple entrances to the campus, allowing walkers to skirt the complex or stroll through as they choose. Harrison Chief Operating Officer Matt Wheelus said the trail connections will make it easy for staff and patients to get outside and exercise.
"We wanted to make the trail part of the campus and promote that healthy lifestyle," Wheelus said.
A few miles south in Bremerton, full-scale models of the future Harrison Silverdale rooms have been assembled in a warehouse, letting staff mull every design element.
The most noticeable feature of the new rooms is their sheer size. Despite being configured for single patients, each will span 310 square feet, making them larger than many of the double rooms at Harrison Bremerton.
Dr. Griffith Blackmon, medical director for critical care services at Harrison, said that extra space will give care providers more elbow room as they tend to patients, and create a more welcoming environment for family members.
"Just the space is going to be the thing that's most immediately obvious," Blackmon said.
Patients will have a bathroom a few steps from their bed. One corner of each room will be arranged as a sitting and sleeping area for visitors. A large window will allow natural light to pour in, promoting healthy sleep cycles.
Outside the patient rooms, staff will use open, modular workstations that keep lines of sight open across the floor. The open layout will make it easier for staff to keep a close eye on patients, Blackmon said.
"It allows easy access and easy observation," he said. "There are very few walls in the center floor."
Paulette Cady, a Harrison patient and volunteer who's been involved in the design process, said she was most pleased to see the emphasis placed on making families comfortable in the hospital.
"This is going to be fantastic for the family," Cady said. "Patients need their family around, and families need to be around the patient."
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