PeaceHealth looks to the future

Local hospital system planning expansion for its Vancouver campus, although construction is not imminent

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Although PeaceHealth's proposed updates to its master plan include a second, 345,000-square-foot tower, officials say they don't anticipate building the facility within the plan's 10-year time frame.

PeaceHealth's 10-year growth plan for its main medical campus includes a cancer center expansion, two new medical office buildings, a second tower and additional parking.

PeaceHealth is proposing to refresh its master plan spelling out expected growth at and around its main medical campus in Vancouver through 2025.

Information about PeaceHealth's application may be examined at the city of Vancouver's Community and Economic Development Department, 415 W. Sixth St., Vancouver.

The city of Vancouver is taking public comments on the proposed master plan update. Comments are due before 4 p.m. May 26. Comments may be sent to Jon Wagner, planner for the city, at jon.wagner@cityofvancouver.us or by mail to Community and Economic Development Department, P.O. Box 1995, Vancouver, WA, 98668.

PeaceHealth's master plan:

www.peacehealth.org/southwest/community-health-and-wellness/Pages/Facilities-Master-Plan-Resources.aspx

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Information about PeaceHealth’s application may be examined at the city of Vancouver’s Community and Economic Development Department, 415 W. Sixth St., Vancouver.

The city of Vancouver is taking public comments on the proposed master plan update. Comments are due before 4 p.m. May 26. Comments may be sent to Jon Wagner, planner for the city, at jon.wagner@cityofvancouver.us or by mail to Community and Economic Development Department, P.O. Box 1995, Vancouver, WA, 98668.

PeaceHealth’s master plan:

www.peacehealth.org/southwest/community-health-and-wellness/Pages/Facilities-Master-Plan-Resources.aspx

When PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center considers the next 10 years, it sees big changes at and around its medical campus in Vancouver.

Those changes include a total of 180,000 square feet of new medical office space and a 15,000-square-foot expansion of the cancer center.

And while those new buildings won’t be built anytime soon, PeaceHealth is moving to refresh its master plan, which will spell out expected growth through 2025. The idea is to help both the nonprofit health care company and the city of Vancouver plan thoughtfully for new development and the impacts to trees, traffic patterns and utilities that come with it.

To that end, the city has issued a notice indicating that, after an initial review of the proposed master plan changes, it expects to decide the changes won’t trigger major negative environmental impacts.

The city is taking public comments on the notice it issued under the state’s Environmental Policy Act and on PeaceHealth’s proposal. Comments, due before 4 p.m. May 26, may be emailed to Jon Wagner, a planner for the city, at jon.wagner@cityofvancouver.us.

A public hearing on the matter, conducted by the city’s hearing examiner, will be at 6 p.m. Aug. 6 on the second floor of City Hall, 415 W. Sixth St.

PeaceHealth officials said the master plan update accounts for expected growth in demand for services, including primary care. Gary Hall, PeaceHealth’s system director of facilities, said there’s no imminent construction of any buildings.

“This is a big picture plan,” he said. “These are conceptual in nature. We haven’t fine-tuned the program.”

Heather Waller, chairwoman of the North Garrison Heights Neighborhood Association, whose boundaries include PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, said PeaceHealth officials “have been amiable” and have discussed their plans with neighborhood leaders.

Generally, the neighborhood “doesn’t have too many issues with the hospital’s 10-year plan,” Waller said in an email to The Columbian. “We know they have acquired the land, and we know they want and will need to expand their campus.”

She added, “A vibrant hospital is important to our community, but we want to balance that with the needs of our neighborhood.”

‘Beautiful … as possible’

The update of PeaceHealth Southwest’s master plan centers on about 60 acres on the northeast corner of Northeast 87th Avenue and Mill Plain Boulevard. It includes the existing 42-acre medical center campus and 18 acres of proposed expansion areas.

Hall said the construction of two medical office buildings totaling 180,000 square feet and the 15,000-square-foot cancer center expansion are likely to occur in the next 10 years. The master plan also calls for a Tower 2, a 345,000-square-foot, eight-story inpatient hospital tower.

The second tower, which Hall described as “the mirror” to the hospital’s existing Firstenburg Tower, would provide about 184 beds, according to public documents. Providing enough power to Tower 2 would require a second central utility plant.

Although PeaceHealth’s master plan includes Tower 2, Hall said, the nonprofit does not anticipate building the facility within the 10-year time frame.

The 18 acres of proposed expansion area includes 72 properties owned by PeaceHealth Southwest, documents show. Six properties within the expansion area are not owned by PeaceHealth.

In Clark County, PeaceHealth employs 4,288 people — 3,254 full time, 1,034 part time.

Hall said PeaceHealth is taking a respectful, long-term approach to acquiring more property from residents. The nonprofit also is focused on avoiding or minimizing disruptions to the neighborhood as it carries out its long-term growth plan, he said.

Waller, the North Garrison Heights neighborhood leader, said residents would like to see additional robust landscaping to offset future growth impacts. The neighborhood also hopes to work with the city to minimize any traffic impacts to the area and Coop Park.

“We have a lot of walkers in our neighborhood, as well as some employees from PeaceHealth,” Waller said, “and we want PeaceHealth to take that into consideration, and make their expanding campus as beautiful and safe as possible.”