Plans to expand and modernize St. Luke’s McCall’s medical center are in full swing. For the community and hospital team members alike, this patient-centered initiative is a welcome effort and one that will accommodate the healthcare needs of the west central mountains region of Idaho for many years to come.
“In the more than 20 years I’ve been practicing medicine in McCall, we have undergone multiple remodels and renovations, and it’s never quite enough to meet the growing need for services,” said Dr. Dave Hall, St. Luke’s McCall medical chief of staff.
“What we need now is to build a hospital that’s as modern as we can predict,” Dr. Hall said. “It can’t just be upgraded. We must build new.”
The project is overseen by a steering committee comprised of hospital leadership, physicians, staff members, community representatives from the hospital’s volunteer boards and McCall Memorial Hospital District board members. The committee works closely with experts across St. Luke’s Health System on the new facility design.
After significant review the committee made the decision to build and expand on the current hospital site near the center of the action in McCall. To support the planning phase of the project, St. Luke’s Health System approved the use of as much as $4 million to complete detailed planning, program and architectural design work. That amount is part of the estimated project cost of $35 million.
The proposed plan includes building a new hospital wing to the north of the current hospital and renovating portions of the existing hospital.
Based on population trends and projected demand, the hospital needs as much as 30,000 additional square feet of space and fully privatized (single occupancy) patient rooms.
Additional factors are the aging building and dated infrastructure of the hospital. Nearly 50 percent of the hospital is more than 60 years old and the other half is 20-plus years old, creating challenges to meet current regulatory, technology and connectivity standards.
“We need more, updated space to meet ever-increasing health care regulatory requirements and to take advantage of current and future technology enhancements,” said St. Luke’s McCall administrator Sean McCallister. “We estimate we currently have only 60 percent of the actual space needed to care for our increasing patient population and to provide new and enhanced services in the future.”
Steering Committee members envision new and larger emergency and surgical services departments with additional exam and operating rooms. Increased space for lab, medical imaging and cardiopulmonary departments is also on the docket, as well as the need to make all patient rooms private. Additional inpatient rooms may be added, and the labor and delivery rooms will be updated and improved.
“Due to the fact that our physicians and staff provide phenomenal care and service to patients and our facilities team continues to maintain and sustain the aged infrastructure, most patients and visitors don’t realize the mounting operational challenges and costs involved,” McCallister said.
The steering committee has been evaluating data gathered over the last several years and meeting with physicians and front-line staff members to understand their challenges and needs. To learn from other hospitals, representatives from the steering committee visited St. Luke’s Wood River in Ketchum and Steele Memorial Medical Center in Salmon, both share similarities to McCall.
An open house was recently held for employees and volunteer board members. On display were diagrams of early ideas for how the hospital layout might flow. Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions and share their ideas.
When more of the detail is defined, the hospital will host community meetings and presentations to share the latest information on the project plans and will file an application with the city of McCall to gain approval for site preparation, to begin next year.
The proposed project schedule and construction, which are dependent on municipal approval and capital funding availability, will take place over five years and in four phases: planning, site preparation, building construction and remodeling of existing areas.
“This is truly a legacy project that will bolster health and wellness in our region for decades to come,” McCallister said.
Learn more about the St. Luke’s McCall development plan.
Phase 1: 2016 and 2017
Soil testing and geotechnical investigations were completed. No concerns were discovered. Work now is taking place to determine total square footage needs and a campus plan, after which schematic, development and construction design will occur.
Phase 2: 2018
Site preparation will occur first. Work will include land clearing and grading, the removal of underground infrastructure (utilities, water and sewer lines) and soil stabilization.
Phase 3: 2019 and 2020
The new hospital wing will be constructed.
The hospital and clinics will remain open during construction, with full access to services.
Phase 4: 2020 through 2022
The existing hospital space will be remodeled.
Schedule is subject to change, based on government approval and capital funding.
Laura Crawford works in the Communications and Marketing department at St. Luke's.