Overlake Medical Center this month begins moving into its gleaming new inpatient tower, the marquee project in a three-phase reconstruction of the Bellevue medical campus that launched in 2018.
The package, called Project FutureCare, is valued at $265 million, with the tower the largest piece, at more than $190 million. “This building is really going to be transformational for our campus,” said Thomas DeBord, Overlake’s chief operating officer.
“We’re extremely excited to be able to have this new building for our patients,” he said. “It’s going to be great for our community for many, many years to come.”
Departments will move into the tower in phases through Feb. 20.
A new childbirth center, spanning floors 2 and 3, is a focal point of the building and will begin its move about Feb. 1, DeBord said. It’s about double the square footage of the current childbirth center in Overlake’s PACCAR/West Garage building. Elements include modern, private, larger rooms, plus a six-bed obstetrical emergency department. Overlake averages about 10 to 11 births daily.
All patient rooms in the 126-bed tower will be larger and private. Each room includes a private bathroom and shower. In total, Overlake has 281 beds and is licensed for 349.
After the childbirth center relocates, moves will begin for Floor 4, which will house medical telemetry/ cardiac step-down, and medical oncology patients, and Floor 5, for orthopedic patients.
Floor 1 will get initial occupancy this month, including a pharmacy, admissions, and lobby functions.
Completion of the East Tower, encompassing 240,000 square feet, was slowed by two and a half months due to COVID-19 construction delays early in 2020 and a pandemic-influenced decision to reconfigure air-handling systems to more easily respond to future diseases requiring air containment. The building was reengineered to convert individual rooms, zones or half a floor to negative pressure at the push of a button, DeBord said.
Starting in February, the current childbirth center in the PACCAR/ West Garage building will be remodeled for a new psychiatric unit by November. It will have 14 beds with room to expand.
After that, the old East Tower, built in the 1960s, will be razed by spring 2022. That space will get a new climate-controlled walkway from the current admissions area, which will become outpatient admitting, to the new East Tower lobby. A new hospital entrance also will be built with improved traffic flow for pick-up and drop-off in 2022, completing Project FutureCare.
“We’re obviously in a very challenging year, like everybody, because of COVID, but we’re really excited because even with that and all of the challenges, our teams have continued to forge ahead to get this building done,” DeBord said in November. “To only have a two-and-a-half-month delay with everything we’ve been through this year is really pretty amazing.”