Regional Medical Center starts to take shape

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Carson-Tahoe Hospital's new regional medical center is starting to take shape.

Plans were presented to trustees last week by San Diego architects Moon and Mayoris, the firm chosen to develop the preliminary plans for the new center.

The main building will be roughly 330,000 square feet, or about twice the size of the current hospital, with between 135 and 140 medical and surgical beds, according to the hospital's chief executive officer, Ed Epperson.

The final size and dimensions of the proposed center depend on space requirements, which are still being determined for some of the departments, according to hospital board Chairman Caleb Mills.

"We're going to look at two scenarios: our minimum needs and our biggest wishes," he said. "The reality will fall somewhere in between."

No cost estimates have been developed and once the transition to a private, nonprofit hospital is completed March 1, officials must go back to the bonding market to secure the money for the project. Hospital officials hope to finance the center with bonds, but if necessary they will partner with another entity that would share in the cost and in the profits.

Mills said hospital officials would like to break ground on the project this fall and completion of the project is slated for the fall of 2004.

A 55-acre parcel in northeast Carson City near the Eagle Valley Children's home has been selected for the new center. Purchased for $10 million, the land is in escrow. An additional 19 acres, purchased from Silver Oak Properties for $2.8 million, has been secured.

The need for a regional medical center is an attempt to respond to the area's rapid population growth, which will result in a demand for additional services, hospital officials said.

If the hospital can't meet those needs, patients will go elsewhere and as the "baby boomer generation" ages, medical needs are changing.

More discretionary dollars will be spent for treatments such as gene therapy and aging reversal and the immigrant population is expected to increase, according to a study by Stephen Goe and Associates, a San Diego consulting firm.

The study said by 2010, Carson City's Hispanic population will increase by 42 percent, the black population 23.4 percent, and the Asian 28 percent. The Caucasian population is expected to increase just 13 percent, which has led hospital officials to consider that more attention needs to be paid to cultural issues when it comes to hospital design.

"Hispanics like bigger rooms and more privacy," Goe said. "They like to bring their own foods and they want to spend the night in the rooms because of their family orientation."

Beyond these added amenities, support for business and diversions for family members will be part of the hospital of the future, according to Goe.


Carson-Tahoe Hospital

From county hospital to nonprofit corporation in 12 months.

-- March 1, 2001 -- Carson-Tahoe Hospital's six trustees vote unanimously to support the creation of a private, nonprofit hospital.

-- July 21, 2001 -- Trustees vote to build a new hospital.

-- July 23, 2001 -- Application submitted for the hospital's tax exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service.

-- Aug. 9, 2001 -- Site near Eagle Valley Children's Home named as first choice for construction of the new medical center.

-- Jan. 17, 2002 -- Carson City supervisors unanimously approve hospital's $10 million purchase of 55 acres of Eagle Valley Children's Home property .

-- Jan. 21, 2002 -- Carson-Tahoe receives its tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service.

-- Feb. 6, 2002 -- Carson-Tahoe receives its A bond rating.

-- March 1, 2002 -- The hospital becomes a private nonprofit corporation.

-- Fall 2002 -- Work expected to begin on new hospital.

-- Fall 2004 -- Projected opening of new hospital.


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