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Last piece of steel framing goes into place at Samaritan Hospital

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | May 4, 2024 12:54 PM

MOSES LAKE — That short piece of steel framing had been around.

It was the last steel beam going into the framing at the new Samaritan Hospital. Samaritan Healthcare Chief Executive Officer Theresa Sullivan chronicled some of its travels before it was tacked into place. The last piece of framing marks a milestone, and it’s treated accordingly.

“The last week the beam has kind of made the tour, around to the hospital, to the Pioneer Clinic, the Patton Clinic and ending up at (the Samaritan Foundation fundraiser) Bourbon and Bowties,” Sullivan said. “And we’ve had hundreds of people sign that beam.”

Daniel Petasky, senior project manager for general contractors Graham Construction, said that’s a tradition in the construction trade, dating back hundreds of years. The workers and other people involved in the project sign their names as a record that they were there and it’s their work, he said.

Sullivan said that for her, the beam is a symbol of the work put into the hospital by the staff and the community as well as the construction crews.

“I think the cool thing about that is, to me, what that shows is really everyone’s commitment together to make this project a reality,” she said.

Petasky said finishing the framing meant the building was about 25% complete, and Joe Kunkel, a consultant working on the project said that’s further along than it may seem.

“In a little over 18 months, you’re going to get the keys to the building,” Kunkel said. “In a little over 21 months you’re going to see your first patient. It seems like it’s a ways off, but in the blink of an eye we’re going to be back here having a ribbon cutting and you’re going to be in this building.”

The concrete slab is complete on the ground floor, and about half the concrete subfloors have been poured on the second and third floor. The first floor will house the emergency room, services like the lab and diagnostic imaging departments, the kitchen and dining room. The second floor will be the obstetrics unit and surgery, and most of the third floor will be the intensive care unit and rooms for patients. 

Crews have started to install the exterior sheathing, and Petasky said installation of the ductwork for the heating-cooling system starts this week. That will be followed by the plumbing and electrical installation.

Sullivan described the project as “kind of an on-again, off-again journey.”

Samaritan commissioners approved construction of a new hospital in October 2018, and the project was ready to go to bid when it was shut down at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Economic disruption and inflation caused the estimated cost to increase past the amount of funding Samaritan had available, and hospital commissioners decided to submit a $130 million construction bond request to the district voters, who approved it in April 2023. Construction began in October 2023. 

“It wasn’t that long ago that we were here for the groundbreaking, which we thought might never happen,” Sullivan said. “It’s pretty exciting to be here to celebrate (this) milestone.”

Hospital officials built full-size mockups for specific areas of the building, back during the planning stages in 2019. Kunkel remembered that when recounting the project.

“For those of us who have been through the whole design process, you see the drawings and you think about doing the mockups - where we did the cardboard mockups. And it’s just really fun to see it come into scale, to see it in 3D and in real life,” he said. “And it’s a little bit surreal.”

Kunkel said the process showed the perseverance of everybody involved. 

“This process has been a challenge when you think back to where it started. And it’s survived through COVID and a number of ups and downs. And it takes that level of commitment and perseverance to make a project like this come together,” Kunkel said.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com.

   
    Construction workers get ready to lift the last piece of framing, covered with signatures of construction crews, Samaritan Healthcare employees and community members, into place.
 
 
    Samaritan Healthcare Chief Administrative Officer Alex Town adds his name to the last beam.
 
 
    Signaling the end of the first phase of construction, the last piece of steel framing at the new Samaritan Hospital is lifted into place.
 
 
    Samaritan Chief Executive Officer Theresa Sullivan talks about the hospital project before the last piece was added to the steel framing Friday.