Mahlum Architects selected for design of Peace Island Medical Center

The Peace Island Medical Center Steering Committee announced Tuesday the selection of an architectural and engineering firm to lead the design of San Juan County’s new integrated medical center and critical access hospital.

The committee selected Mahlum Architects, a Seattle-based firm.

“Mahlum was a unanimous choice for us, based on their outstanding track record for innovative health care and energy-efficient design, and their strong connection to the San Juan Islands,” Design Committee chairwoman Barbara Cable said in a press release. “Mahlum’s inspired proposal and presentation demonstrated a clear understanding and commitment to designing an island-appropriate health care facility. We believe they will be a highly motivated and exceptional design partner for our community.”

PeaceHealth’s Jim Barnhart, who is leading the planning and implementation process for the project, said in the press release, “We are excited about the next steps in the design process, and including the island community in helping us shape this work in the months ahead.”

Mahlum Principal Butch Reifert said in the press release, “We believe the best design solutions come from a sensitive response to the unique character of each community and place. Connecting to the culture, ecology and economy of the island community will be essential to the long-term success of Peace Island Medical Center. Our mission is to create a PeaceHealth facility that the San Juan County community visits when sick and when well—to find health, healing and a continuing sense of community.”

The Steering Committee, led by PeaceHealth and comprised of appointed San Juan County Public Hospital District No. 1 commissioners and staff, and members of the San Juan Community Hospital Committee, received comprehensive proposals from 11 pre-qualified architectural firms, each of which specialize in health care design of facilities of similar size and scope to Peace Island Medical Center. Three finalist firms made presentations to the committee in Friday Harbor earlier in March.

Design work for Peace Island Medical Center will begin immediately, with visioning, site planning and detailed design to prepare for issuing construction bids later this year. The committee leaders and Mahlum will be actively engaging the San Juan County community in various stages of the design process over the next several months.

“Selecting Mahlum as our architect is a significant step in expanding access to health care for our community,” Steering Committee member Pamela Gross said in the press release. “We look forward to working with the Mahlum team and our community in designing a medical center that will serve the needs of San Juan County for the next 50 years.”

Started four years ago as a grassroots movement to improve and expand local health care, the San Juan Community Hospital Committee invited PeaceHealth into conversations with the Hospital District Board of Commissioners.

In March 2009, PeaceHealth and the Hospital District approved a 50-year contract for PeaceHealth to build and operate a fully integrated medical center in Friday Harbor, including a new, expanded primary care and specialty clinic, expanded diagnostic services center, a 24-hour emergency room, and a 10-bed critical access hospital.

Under the terms of the approved agreement, local philanthropy will contribute $10 million toward capital costs for Peace Island Medical Center. PeaceHealth will fund the remaining $20 million, own the property and medical center, and will have full responsibility for the delivery of ongoing patient care, staffing and operations when it opens in 2012.

The hospital district commission will remain directly responsible for San Juan EMS, but will contribute $1 million in annual property tax revenue to subsidize medical care.

In July 2009, PeaceHealth signed a purchase agreement on a 22-acre site where the new medical center, scheduled to open in summer of 2012, will be built. The property is located at 1049 San Juan Valley Road, adjacent to the Friday Harbor Airport.

San Juan County Public Hospital District No. 1 is a tax-supported public agency that provides clinic-based medical services and 24/7 urgent care services at Inter Island Medical Center in Friday Harbor. It also operates San Juan Island EMS which provides emergency medical services, critical care transport, and injury and accident prevention programs. The district is comprised of San Juan Island, Friday Harbor, and Brown, Henry, Johns, Pearl, Speiden and Stuart islands.

PeaceHealth is a non-profit health care system serving rural and urban communities in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. Founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, PeaceHealth has provided care to Northwest communities for more than a century. Its hospitals include St. Joseph in Bellingham.

Peace Island Medical Center
Mahlum Architects