By Pacific Island Times News Staff
The Guam Memorial Hospital is currently undertaking several major capital improvement projects in an effort to extend the life of the aging facility until a replacement hospital is built.
“It’s no secret our building is old. We’ve been working to maintain it for years and these major CIP undertakings will ensure this facility is fully functional until our move to the new hospital,” said William Kando, GMH associate administrator of operations.
The 230-bed GMH was built in 1956. Following the Army Corps of Engineers recommendation, the government plans to build a new $800-million medical facility on the proposed site at Eagle's Field in Mangilao.
As part of the many projects GMH is leading, the hospital’s roof and envelope are being upgraded. This will enhance the structural integrity during heavy rainfall, mitigating against potential leaks.
This project is currently in the design phase, with the first portion tracking to begin in November 2021. The roof upgrade is a phased project that is expected to take up to one year. The first phase will begin with the area over the hospital’s laboratory.
In addition, GMH is finalizing plans to demolish the vacant Z-Wing portion of the building. A small footprint will be salvaged to use as additional office space; the remaining structure will be demolished and converted into much-needed parking spaces at the hospital.
The project has completed the abatement phase and is currently in pre-demolition. The tactful, controlled demolition process is expected to begin early 2022.
“We’re incredibly proud of all our teams for working non-stop for our community. These upgrades will ensure our infrastructure lives up to the excellent healthcare our teams deliver," Kando said.
Additional improvements to the island’s trusted healthcare facility include HVAC upgrades, which are currently underway, to include removing and replacing 22 more air handling units, to include upgrades to the ICU and Emergency Room HVAC systems in the coming months.
“Every month, our BOT subcommittee meets to discuss how to move our community hospital forward. We are hyperfocused on updating our infrastructure and technology to propel our beloved community hospital into the leading edge of healthcare on Guam,” said Sharon Davis, chair of the GMH board's facilities, CIP and IT subcommittee.
“I myself have received excellent care at GMHA and I want to ensure our incredible teams have the necessary tools and space to practice medicine and treat our island’s most vulnerable patients.”
In addition to the major projects GMH is undertaking, there are simultaneous smaller-scale repairs to ensure the greatest quality of care for our patients and staff. This includes operating room surgical light upgrades and a ceiling-repair project for the physician’s parking lot.
GMH is also following through on the alternate care facility plans for the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) in Barrigada Heights. The project will include the isolation of the B-Wing, to ensure the safety of SNF residents, should there be a need to treat patients at the alternate care facility in response to Covid-19.
Current ACF upgrades also include the manufacturing, installation and commissioning of two 134-ton chillers, as well as isolating the B-Wing HVAC system from the remaining wings. Additionally, beds at the SNF will be upgraded, along with IT infrastructure that supports the building and other ancillary support equipment.