KENNEWICK -- The new Trios hospital under construction in the Southridge area of Kennewick looks big from the outside.
But it seems even more expansive once you step through the doors, with everything from a restaurant on the bottom floor to dozens of private patient rooms upstairs, each with plenty of natural light and a view.
Construction of the 168,000-square-foot facility near Southridge High School started in 2012 after years of planning. Officials plan to open the new hospital in late spring.
"It's going to be a great thing," said Jim Mefford, president of the Kennewick Public Hospital District board. "The project is on time and on budget, and we're looking forward to getting into it."
Trios Health is the new name of the Kennewick General Hospital system, which is overseen by the board.
The new Trios Southridge Hospital has four levels, including a daylight basement that will house a restaurant, among other features.
It will have 74 licensed beds in private rooms, each about 300 square feet. The hospital also will have another 27 emergency and trauma services rooms.
Among the other highlights are: new state-of-the-art imaging equipment, from CT to ultrasound; six operating rooms at 640 square feet each; multiple waiting areas; multi-faith chapel; coffee shop; gift shop; and four RV spots for extended stay.
Trios Southridge will be the health system's main hospital, with full in-patient services from the emergency department to surgery to intensive care. The plan is for the other Trios hospital -- on South Auburn Street in downtown Kennewick -- to become the Trios Women's and Children's Hospital, with services such as a birthing center and pediatrics.
The new Southridge facility was designed to be easy for patients to navigate. On the ground floor, for example, an approximately 500-foot "Walk of Wellness" corridor stretches from the towering three-story atrium and registration area at one end to the emergency department on the other end. The public will be able to use that single corridor to get where they need to go.
The hospital also was designed to be logical and efficient for staff and operations, officials said. "We spent a lot of time with our staff, discussing how we want departments to relate to each other, which ones are dependent on others, what are the traffic flows between those areas," said Chuck Barnes, executive director of support services.
Officials are using "green" and energy-efficient materials and plan landscaping that doesn't take a lot of water and incorporates native plants.
The new hospital will be an economic boon to the area, as well as a powerful tool for recruiting physicians and improving health care in the community, Trios officials said.
"A new facility attracts great doctors," who may bring new specialties to the area, said board member Rick Reil.
Board member Wanda Briggs noted the cramped and aging Auburn Street hospital, which opened in 1952, provided no room for growth. "It is time -- it is past time -- to walk into our future," she said.
She recalled that her mother contributed to the campaign decades ago to build the Auburn Street hospital. "I think she'd be proud of what we've become today, which is a comprehensive health care system. All of us in this community ought to take pride in where this system is going," she said.
Briggs noted the hospital district isn't relying on new taxes to build the new facility. Officials went to district voters in 2007 with a property tax levy, but it failed.
They then sought a loan through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, but an agreement couldn't be reached.
A private sector option then came into place, approved by the board in April 2012.
The Wisconsin-based C.D. Smith Construction is building the hospital building and will lease it to the district for about $800,000 a month. The district has an option to buy it after 10 years. The lease term is 30 years.
Trios Health also plans a medical office building -- totaling about 158,000 square feet -- next to the new hospital, with the two facilities connected by a walkway.
The medical office building will take about 15 months to build, and Barnes said construction could start soon. The intent is to use the same kind of arrangement with a developer that's being used with the hospital building, he said.
Barnes gave a tour of the new Trios Southridge Hospital on a recent morning. The place bustled with activity as crews installed equipment, worked on floors, sanded walls.
A number of local subcontractors are involved, including Perfection Glass, Apollo, Drywall Interiors, A & B Asphalt, Central Premix, GN Northern and Heritage Landscaping. PKA Architects in Portland designed the building.
Barnes said the project is meaningful to him, calling it a pinnacle career moment.
"We've had just a tremendous opportunity to work with our staff and get almost everybody involved in the planning and thinking about how can we be the very best that we can be?" he said. "It's just a huge amount of teamwork that's bringing us to (this point). ... We've worked very, very hard to do a lot of neat things in this building."