Thursday, May 30, 2013

Council gets a look at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center Expansion

Photo by Utah Valley Regional Medical Center

The Council has received an update on expansion plans for Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. Steve Smoot, Vice-President of the Urban South Region, presented details on how the center is planning for the future, and asked the Council for input and feedback about those plans.

“We see ourselves as a community owned asset,” Smoot said in introductory remarks. “That’s why we have members of the community which sit on our board and represent all of you as we try to govern this asset.”

Utah Valley Regional Medical Center’s campus is like an aging, high mileage car, Smoot told the Council. Constant use of power and water, and providing a high level of care to patients can put a lot of wear on facilities. Smoot singled out the center’s tower, which was constructed in 1978, as particularly in need of replacement. Smoot said the tower will be among buildings first considered for replacement during planned expansion in 2015.

The Utah Valley Medical Center campus currently occupies 27 acres, and needs more space to accommodate the increasing care needs of the community. Smoot said the hospital administration has considered its options regarding where and how to expand the facility, and has settled on a strategy of “land banking” by buying up properties to the south of the current campus. Currently the center owns 78% of the homes in the expansion area, and plans on continuing to acquire properties in the zone.

Smoot spoke of the importance of working with the neighborhood to maintain a good relationship with the affected community, emphasizing the help and work of Jim Pettersson, the neighborhood chair of the affected area, as essential in helping the center communicate with the community.

“We’ve tried to maintain a neighborhood feel for this area as much as possible until we can move forward,” Smoot said. “We’ve been doing things like caring for the lawns of renters, setting up parks and trying to be good stewards rather than just letting things fall apart.”

The area in question is 12 to 15 acres, and will provide the space to accommodate expanding care needs. Smoot emphasized that since the center is using community resources to purchase the expansion properties, the administration has tried to be careful and wise about how they purchase properties.
Smoot indicated expansion is likely to take place in 2015, and that the administration would meet with the Council for further updates before that time.

Smoot also said Utah Valley Regional Medical has enjoyed its partnership with Provo City, which has been mutually beneficial to the community and to the hospital. He also mentioned hospital administrators were enthusiastic about the latest developments with Google Fiber and the future possibilities it provided for telemedicine and outpatient care.

If you have feedback for the Council regarding the expansion of Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, leave a comment here, or contact your Council Member here

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