Gunnison Valley Hospital wrapping up 10,000-square-foot expansion
By Robert Stevens
GUNNISON—The new 10,000-square-foot, two-floor expansion at the Gunnison Valley Hospital (GVH) is almost done.
The hospital held an open house on Friday, May 18 to show off the mostly finished addition, which was built primarily with the purpose of increasing the hospital’s capacity for surgery.
“We are excited to open the new addition of the hospital,” said Mark Dalley, CEO of the hospital. “Two new operating suites will help us meet the growing surgical needs of our community.”
Hospital staff, builders, architects and administrators were on hand to give behind-the-scenes tours of the new, state-of-the-art expansion.
The star players in the expansion are two 600-square-foot, state-of-the-art operating rooms that will expand the hospital’s surgery capacity—which is important now that the hospital is taking on regular orthopedic surgery procedures.
“This is going to let us schedule more effectively and allow our doctors more room for operating with the extra space,” says Brenda Bartholomew, chief nursing officer at GVH.
The expansion also includes a new central processing room for sterilizing laundry and other items, a dedicated shipping and receiving area, new locker rooms, rooms for on-call overnight stay and a high-tech clean room that can maintain a stable climate for compounding volatile and sensitive drugs used in treatments such as chemotherapy.
The open house was a unique opportunity for the community to view the inside of an operating room, said Cheryl Hansen, registered nurse and GVH operating room manager. “After the open house,
the rooms will be sterilized and the only way to take a peek will be if you require surgery.”
She added, “The new addition to our hospital will allow us to continue to provide personalized, high-quality care.”
Big-D Construction is the contractor for the expansion project. Dan Nielsen, Big-D Project Manager, said “For me, having grown up in Sanpete County, it has been a great privilege to be able to work on this same hospital that has treated family members in the past. The folks at Gunnison Valley Hospital have been great to work with and it is very apparent that they are committed to quality care for their patients.”
The chief architect of the project was Kris Bown from Design West, who said the design implementation faced some challenges with basement access and infrastructure, such as plumbing and electricity, but on the whole, things proceeded as planned.
Brian Murray, GVH chief financial officer, said the expansion came in slightly under budget, despite the minor challenges with infrastructure in the design.
The facilities at GVH have come a long way since Dr. G. Stanford Rees, who came to Gunnison Valley in 1932, opened Sanpete’s first hospital in the former Gunnison Valley Bank building in the 1940s. In 1949, Dr. Rees sold the hospital to the community for $1 with the stipulation that they would continue his medical work at the hospital, and they did—eventually opening a newer, bigger facility at its current location in May of 1970.
The new expansion brings the hospital to approximately 64,000 square feet, and is one of four major additions GVH has undergone to stay up-to-date and provide modern healthcare to the community. Hospital administration said it will be at full operating capacity by the end of June.