Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Hospital About Halfway Done

But Supply Chain Delay Could Push Back Completion To Early 2024

Construction workers are taking advantage of recent ideal weather conditions for building Kimball's new hospital, but nationwide supply chain issues are likely to delay completion of the $43 million project.

A giant construction crane capable of reaching across the entire building hoisted air handling units, chillers and condenser units on the newly completed roof last week. The crane operated by K.p Squared of Pierce, Colo., lifted and placed six units of up to 3,000 pounds, while a smaller crane positioned a new 14,600 pound standby generator on the east side of the building.

The cranes highlighted a busy week at the project site, with up to 55 workers from all trades – the largest collection so far – combining efforts inside and outside the 62,000 square foot building.

"Generically speaking, I would say the project is 50-60% complete," said Project Manager Troy Kurz of Kimball Health Services. "It's difficult to put an overall completion percentage on the project because every area of the hospital construction is at a different stage per the phasing plan.  I think it is important to note that we have a general contractor in Haselden Construction that continues to work hard for us to move as quickly and efficiently as possible." 

Kurz said the new hospital has been fortunate to avoid what he called "logistic obstacles" that have plagued construction projects nationwide. For that he credits Haselden for timely procurement of most materials, but a delay obtaining the building's main electrical gear will likely push back the projected completion date.

"The gear in question is our main switch board and paralleling emergency switch board," Kurz explained. "The gear was ordered approximately a year ago and was supposed to be delivered this month.  The manufacturer has indicated they cannot get components consistently for them to meet their production schedules and so the new delivery date is currently set for late September 2023."

Kurz said the downstream impact of not having the gear literally affects everything on the project.

"The delay really happens as a result of the activities that have to occur after the final gear is installed such as removing the temporary power, testing, inspections, building commissioning, and sign off," he added.  "Barring any further delays with the electrical gear, the project's substantial completion date had to be moved from October 23, 2023 to January 23, 2024."

In the meantime, other trades are pushing ahead to help the new structure take shape. Interior framing is 95% complete, drywall is going up in the northwest corner and is progressing east and south. Much of the hydronic, water and medical gas piping is installed in the ceiling space on the north half of the building and is being followed closely by ductwork. Haselden Construction is coordinating with hospital staff to assure all infrastructure is in place before closing the walls.

On the outside, paving is now complete on the north side of the site and will soon move to the west side. Exterior stucco and composite accent materials will continue to change the look of the new building in the coming weeks.

Despite the completion delay, hospital CEO Ken Hunter said the new hospital will be worth waiting for. He pointed to modernized surgical capabilities, in-house CT and MRI services, larger inpatient rooms and additional services in mammography, chemotherapy infusions, cardiac rehabilitation and physical therapy as good examples.

"We've had top-level health providers, nurses and support staff here in Kimball for many years, and soon we'll have a top-level facility to support them," Hunter said. "Having excellent medical care is critical to a thriving community and we're excited to be part of the many positive things beginning to happen in Kimball."