By DEBRA VAUGHN
It’s far from a done deal, but Naval Hospital Oak Harbor may be getting a major renovation soon.
A proposed renovation that would fix infrastructure issues and modernize the labor and delivery unit is planned to begin at the earliest in the spring of 2017, said Trish Rose, hospital spokeswoman.
The changes also would address overcrowding and flow issues in hospital spaces as well as improvements to environmental control systems.
Teams assessed the building and it’s ranked high on a list of necessary projects, she said.
Like most things military, whether the project is ultimately approved depends on a number of factors, including the political climate.
“I don’t think anything is in stone until I see a shovel in the ground,” she said.
The hospital was built in 1968 and, although it’s been added onto and renovated over the years, it’s showing its age. For instance, heavy rain sends hospital personnel scrambling to sop up water leaks.
The project would include redesign of the hospital’s five labor and delivery rooms to closely match the size and design specifications of a modern maternity pavilion.
Moms also would recover in the same room.
“Having all the maternity care in one room will omit the need to transfer patients to a new room after delivery,” said hospital commanding officer Capt. Frederick McDonald. “Additionally, we will see improvements in dedicated spaces for triage, baby checks and lactation assistance.”
During renovation, the naval hospital would rely on its partnerships with Island Hospital in Anacortes and Whidbey General Hospital in Coupeville to make sure expectant mothers had continuity of care during the project.
Last year, 316 babies were born at the naval hospital, but the hospital offers many other services, including dental, pharmacy, optometry, radiology, physical therapy and mental health services.
The hospital serves active duty personnel, their families and retired personnel as well as NATO Canadian forces and their families.
That number of potential patients is expected to grow in the next several years.
The number of personnel at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island is expected to increase in the next several years as the base prepares for the transition to the P-8 Poseidon and the likely addition of more EA-18G Growlers.