Construction of a new parking garage at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland is scheduled to start July 27.
The project will take about 11 months — and it will change the parking landscape for patients, visitors and employees at the Swift Boulevard campus while it’s going on and after it’s finished.
“We’re trying to do everything possible to minimize confusion or disruption caused by the construction,” said Lane Savitch, hospital president.
But, “this is a short-term inconvenience for an incredible long-term benefit of having a (large number) of new parking spaces in such close proximity to the hospital,” he said.
Starting this weekend, the roughly 140-space parking lot in front of the Corrado Building next to the hospital will be closed.
That’s where the $14 million parking garage will go.
It will have about 600 spaces throughout four stories and a rooftop parking level.
Instead of parking at that lot, patients and visitors will be able to park in the employee parking lot off Gillmore Avenue during construction.
A new gravel lot is opening for employees to the north, along Gillmore.
A shuttle route is being added for patients and visitors, taking them from the Gillmore Avenue lot to the hospital.
The free shuttle will run daily. The existing employee shuttle will continue operating.
Other patient and visitor parking lots at and around the hospital will remain open, as will employee and physician lots.
Kadlec still will offer valet parking, with some modifications, during construction, and emergency department access will remain the same.
Taxis and Dial-A-Ride will pick up and drop off at the Orchard Street entrance.
Ambulance access won’t be affected.
While patients and visitors will lose access to the Corrado lot, they’ll actually see a net increase in parking spots available to them during construction, officials said.
Kadlec officials have taken several steps to notify the public about the changes, from including information in the hospital newsletter to posting it on the website and social media, taking out newspaper and broadcast advertisements and posting signs around campus.
“Between signs, shuttles, fliers going out and preparing employees, it’s been a huge effort. It’s really a top priority — how do we make sure people have ease of access?” said Jason Rose, director of plant operations.
Jim Hall, Kadlec spokesman, added, “People are coming here to get care and get healed. We want to make sure we can get them where they need to go.”
Additional parking at the Richland hospital long has been needed, as patient and employee numbers swelled. The hospital sees thousands of patients a year — the emergency department at the Richland campus alone sees more than 60,000 annual patient visits — and the employee ranks have grown from 700 in 2000 to about 3,200 today.
The parking garage isn’t the only major construction project at the hospital. Kadlec also is adding four stories to its River Pavilion Tower. They’ll include two acute care and two intensive care floors.
When finished, the 10-story pavilion will be the tallest building in Richland. It’s expected to be done in the fall of 2016.
The parking garage — the first of its kind in the Tri-Cities — should be done in June of next year.
Bouten Construction is building both the parking garage and the pavilion expansion.
For more information about the parking changes, including a map of the available parking, go to www.kadlec.org.