A public hearing is being held on applying for federal housing funds to build a proper entrance to Forks Community Hospital plus enhance and enlarge the emergency care section of the hospital.
Forks Community Hospital Administrator Camille Scott in recent weeks has described the project to community groups and the Forks City Council.
Scott said patients along with friends and families brought in for emergency care often lack privacy due to the configuration of the entrance, which adjoins the entrance for emergency room patients. Sometimes emergency room patients are brought into the facility from ambulances and are placed in public areas, making it an uncomfortable arrangement at best for all concerned.
The expansion of the Forks Community Hospital in past years relocated the former main entrance.
The addition and remodel of existing space would also give the hospital a distinctive entrance and add square footage to the rooms where emergency care is provided. The project would involve building 1,200 square feet of new space and remodeling 600 square feet of existing space.
About $800,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) - Housing and Urban Development funds allocated for Washington state would be requested, with the hospital raising about $300,000 in matching funds.
A federal CDBG funding requirement state that a local municipality, such as the City of Forks, must be the agency receiving the federal funds. Because of this, the upcoming public hearing is being held by the Forks City Council.
At a January meeting the City Council approved going ahead with the public hearing set to be part of the Monday evening, Feb. 13 meeting of the Forks City Council in the Council Chambers.
The City of Forks and Forks Community Hospital have worked together on three CDBG grants over the past 10 years, including the new West End Outreach “clubhouse” on Founders Way. Creation of the new road that ties together the new Bogachiel Clinic, low-income housing and the clubhouse also received federal block grant funding.
Scott said once completed
Forks Community Hospital Commissioner joined Scott at the council meeting held in January. He said building the entrance was a necessity and needed to meeting state privacy regulations for hospitals. He said the configuration of the waiting area has been a “stop-gap measure” for five to ten years.The West End Business & Professional Association has sent a letter of support.