KENNEWICK -- Kennewick General Hospital has the first building permit it needs from the city of Kennewick to begin construction on a new hospital in the Southridge area.
The public hospital district received a foundation permit valued at $1 million that will allow grading of the site at 3810 Plaza Way to begin, according to hospital officials.
However, Chuck Barnes, the hospital's executive director of support services, said the ground work isn't likely to start until Jan. 1, although that will be up to the contractor, C.D. Smith Construction of Wisconsin.
"This is just the first step," he told the Herald on Friday.
The Southridge hospital is expected to include four floors, including a daylight basement, Barnes said. The building will be about 168,000 square feet, with 74 hospital beds.
The intent is to eventually move the current KGH hospital from Auburn Street to the Southridge location, Barnes said. They intend to keep some services at the Auburn Street facility.
Board President Jim Mefford said the permit is just part of the process.
The financing for the $112 million project has still not been finalized, Mefford said.
"It's a long process," he said.
Jerry Paule, chief financial officer for the hospital, said the goal is to have the financing completed by the end of the year, hopefully within the next 30 days.
A ground-breaking ceremony for the hospital won't happen until after the financing is in place, Paule said.
KGH officials told the Herald earlier this year that they hoped to identify private funding by May. After May, the hospital's CEO Glen Marshall told the Herald he hoped to have funding lined up by the end of the summer.
In August, Marshall said KGH couldn't announce any private funding source, but he said he would expect to see the project move forward soon.