Published in the Coquille Valley Sentinel, Sept. 27, 2023
By Dean Brickey
For the Coquille Valley Sentinel
COQUILLE — Design nearly is complete, a financing plan is in place and work should begin this fall on a significant addition to Coquille Valley Hospital.
Jeff Lang, the hospital’s chief executive officer, said the $20 million building project is part of a master plan that was completed in 2019.
“We looked at space, what’s working well, and what’s not,” he said in an interview.
The hospital plans to build a two-story medical arts building where the old hospital sits. The new building will be smaller and connected to the hospital on the east.
Lang said the new building will meet several goals, such as creating parking spaces closer to entrances. In addition, the laboratory will move, patient registration will move and the hospital’s clinic will move to the new building.
“All registration will be in one place,” he said. “The three most heavily used services — clinic, lab and radiology — will be closest to the door people will come in.”
Larger exam rooms will be constructed in the new building, Lang said, and space will be available to expand the hospital’s behavioral health programs and to add addiction services.
“We’re simply out of space in our clinic building,” he said. “We now have 11 providers on the hospital side, in a space designed for 10.”
North Bend Medical Center also uses the building, where it has two doctors and their staff.
“The building is outdated,” he said of the clinic next door to the hospital. “It just doesn’t have the fit and finish and quality that we would like to present our community.”
Constructing a new building and remodeling the existing hospital will address some emergency department issues, too. Lang said the emergency department has inadequate patient waiting space and the emergency entrance is difficult to access.
“It’s tough for patients to find it,” he said, adding that parking has been a significant problem.
The new medical arts building will be smaller than the old hospital building, allowing for increased patient and visitor parking.
“The new emergency department entrance will be just beyond the main entrance,” Lang said. “People will be able to see it when they drive in.”
Meanwhile, the existing main entrance will become a staff entrance.
Lang said the current hospital’s design doesn’t separate care areas from public areas. The new construction and hospital remodeling will address that, so patients have a greater level of privacy.
The hospital board’s decision to demolish the old hospital, which has been vacant for more than a decade, came after a complete inspection of the building, he said. That review determined the roof needs to be replaced, the plumbing and electrical systems need updating and the structure is not built to current seismic codes. Lang is hoping demolition can begin in the next two months.
“People may notice that we’re removing that building early,” he said. “We would really like to know what the ground is like under that building.”
Construction of the new building is expected to begin in March.
“We’re anticipating a two-year construction timeline,” Lang said. “Phase I will be the new medical office building. Phase II will be the remodel of the hospital space, including the emergency department, hospital pharmacy, surgery department and the laboratory.”
The hospital district plans to finance the project with existing funds and borrowing from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program. Lang said the USDA has given the project preliminary approval so the hospital has a green light for submitting a loan application.
“We will be refinancing about $15 million on the existing hospital,” he said, “so the debt service payments should be about the same as present.”