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$2 million awarded to PeaceHealth for medical center project; construction expected to begin this summer

The San Juan Island Community Foundation announced Jan. 5 its award of $2 million to PeaceHealth toward the construction of the new Peace Island Medical Center in Friday Harbor.

The project will provide comprehensive medical care to residents of San Juan, including a significantly expanded family practice clinic, 24/7 emergency and urgent care, a full suite of digital imaging and laboratory services, outpatient surgery center, inpatient hospital and a cancer care center.

The new medical center will be located adjacent to Friday Harbor Airport on a 22-acre site purchased Sept. 30 with a $1.2 million grant to PeaceHealth from the Community Foundation. The Friday Harbor Town Council annexed the area into the town limits in July.

The hospital was proposed by the San Juan Community Hospital Committee, which was comprised of members of the Community Foundation, the community, and the island's hospital district commission. Design work for the medical center is in the final stages with groundbreaking anticipated in summer 2011 and opening in late 2012, and the Community Hospital Committee has been phased out. The Community Foundation is leading the effort to raise money for the hospital project.

One-third of the $30 million hospital project will be funded through philanthropy; the other two-thirds is being paid for by PeaceHealth, which will own and operate the medical center under a 50-year contract with the San Juan County Public Hospital District No. 1. The money granted to date for Peace Island represents philanthropic pledges received.

The public hospital district, which will close Inter Island Medical Center when Peace Island opens but will continue to operate San Juan EMS, will contribute a little over $1 million a year in property tax revenues for 50 years to subsidize medical care.

“The foundation’s major donors have been incredibly supportive of this project and we expect to complete the entire $10 million pledge drive this spring and summer with the addition of a broad appeal to the entire community,” Chairman Charles Anderson said in a press release.

The San Juan Island Community Foundation serves as a non-profit philanthropic umbrella organization helping donors, non-profits and public organizations to achieve their goals through direct grants, organizational assistance and philanthropic resource management. For more information about the Community Foundation, call 378-1001; write to P.O. Box 1352, Friday Harbor, WA 98250; or visit the office in the Technology Center, 640 Mullis St., Suite 104, Friday Harbor.

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