Prineville hospital plans released

New hospital will be smaller, more efficient than Pioneer Memorial

By Scott Hammers / The Bulletin

Published: August 29. 2013 4:00AM PST

This artist’s rendering approximates what Prineville’s new $30 million hospital will look like. The St. Charles Health System will operate the facility, which will replace Pioneer Memorial Hospital.

PRINEVILLE — Crook County residents got their first look at the future of medical care in Prineville at an open house on Wednesday night, viewing the first publicly released illustrations of a new $30 million hospital set to break ground early next year.

St. Charles Health System announced plans to build a new facility to replace Pioneer Memorial Hospital in the spring, indicating the cost of bringing the current hospital up to modern standards far exceeded the cost of a new building. In late May, the organization reached an agreement to purchase 20 acres off Combs Flat Road from the Ochoco Lumber Company for $1 million.

On Wednesday, dozens of Crook County residents packed in to Prineville City Hall to view architectural drawings prepared by The Neenan Company, a Colorado firm specializing in the design and construction of health care facilities.

At roughly 60,000 square feet, the two-story hospital will be significantly smaller than the approximately 90,000 square-foot Pioneer Memorial Hospital, according to architect Joe Ashcraft. The layout of the current hospital is inefficient, he said, with a great deal of space that doesn’t really improve the patient’s experience. Ashcraft said his firm’s design for the new hospital stresses “adjacency,” placing functions like the radiology department and the labs where blood tests are performed about one minute’s walk from any room where a doctor would see a patient.

Bob Gomes, CEO of St. Charles Health System, said it’s estimated medical staff and patients will reduce their travel from one part of the hospital to another by 40 percent once the new facility opens in mid-2015.

While the new hospital will expand much of what’s offered at the existing hospital, St. Charles Health System will scale back the number of beds for overnight stays to 12 patient rooms, down from the 25 available at Pioneer Memorial Hospital. On an average day at Pioneer Memorial Hospital, just nine beds are occupied, Gomes said.

Kirk Schueler, chief administrative officer for St. Charles Health System, said overnight hospital stays are far less common than they were when the current hospital was built in 1950 — patients undergoing operations that once required a few nights in the hospital are now often released a few hours after surgery, and new mothers seldom stay overnight after giving birth.

Although Pioneer Memorial Hospital closed its birthing center at the end of 2009 — and the future St. Charles Prineville will not include a birthing center — the existing facility reflects how medical care was delivered in the 1950s, Schueler said.

Because the hospitals in Bend, Redmond, Prineville and Madras are all owned and operated by St. Charles Health System, it’s not necessary that each facility duplicate all the services offered by the others.

“Back then they had to be everything to everybody, so they needed the rooms,” Schueler said.

As part of the land sales agreement with Ochoco Lumber Company, St. Charles Health System agreed to master-plan roughly 50 acres surrounding the hospital site, and to connect the parcels retained by the lumber company to roads, sewer and water. Illustrations of the surrounding parcels were also displayed at Wednesday’s open house, showing areas Ochoco Lumber Company hopes to rezone for office space, retail, and multifamily housing.

Bruce Daucsavage, president of Ochoco Lumber Company, said his company is, for now, primarily interested in getting the new hospital constructed. He said he expects the completed hospital could be a draw for several kinds of businesses looking for a location in Prineville, particularly those in the health care field, but there’s no rush to develop the remainder of the property.

“The buildout on this could be 20 years, but there’s a lot of interest, we’ve been getting a lot of phone calls,” he said.