Bond & Building Updates
Project Manager Chosen
The $50 million bond approved by voters in November will be used to finance construction of the new Whidbey General Hospital inpatient wing and to make other improvements.
We see our project being completed in several phases, including parking lot modifications, construction of a new inpatient wing, shelled in space for future use and renovation of existing service space.
In December, the hospital building committee began looking for a project manager with a track record in successfully managing large-scale healthcare construction. The project manager represents Whidbey General’s interests in the project and oversees all aspects of the hospital’s expansion.
After interviewing the most qualified candidates, the building committee recommended Anacortes resident Marc Estvold for the position at the Jan. 13 board meeting and the board accepted. Estvold is a licensed architect with decades of experience in design, building and construction project management.
“Over budget is not an option.”
- Marc Estvold, project manager for construction of the new Whidbey General inpatient wing
Estvold has successfully managed large and complex projects in numerous areas, including healthcare. His references consistently state he delivers high quality results on time and on budget.
Recent clients and projects include:
- Skagit Valley Hospital Riverbend Medical Office Building, 2014
- Island Hospital Medical Arts Pavilion, completed 2012
- Cascade Skagit Medical Office Building, completed 2012
- Island Hospital Addition and Renovation, completed 2008
- McIntyre Hall Performing Arts & Conference Center (Skagit Valley College Campus), completed 2004
- Whidbey General will have a site survey done to establish property corners.
- A Request for Proposal has gone out to interested architectural firms. The successful firm will start by validating the hospital's existing master plan, keeping the best parts of the plan and revising as needed to meet current codes, technology and practices. They will also meet with impacted departments to determine space requirements of each area of the new wing and renovated surgical services area. When initial space planning is complete, the architect will take the project into design, bidding, permitting and construction.
- With the architect on board, Estvold will work with the architect and hospital to establish a complete project schedule. While many variables are involved, early estimates indicate that the new inpatient wing would be complete by fall 2016.
Levy Rate Finalized for 2014
“Levy rate” refers to the cost per thousand dollars of assessed value that property owners will pay for the hospital bond.
The levy rate for the recently approved $50 million hospital bond has been finalized for 2014. Levy rates for this type of project are estimates until after bonds are sold. We sold bonds on Dec. 18, about three weeks after election results were certified by Island County.
In 2014 Whidbey property owners will pay around 35.6 cents per thousand dollars of assessed value for the bond. In mid-2013, we estimated the levy rate would be about 32.2 cents.
Regardless of levy rate, the overall amount collected for the bond does not change. That number is set when bonds are sold and never increases.
Three variables moved the 2014 levy rate higher than estimated: interest rates, property values and the need to compensate for any potential lag between taxes levied and actual taxes received.
Interest rates at the end of 2013 were higher than what was estimated by professional bond underwriters earlier in the year. Higher interest rates on bonds can push up levy rates.
In addition, a slower than expected real estate recovery meant that Whidbey Island property values at the beginning of 2014 were lower than projected. Lower property values can correspond to a higher levy rate, which is then needed to generate adequate funds to service debt from selling the bonds. Conversely, when property values rise, the levy rate goes down.
Finally, in the initial year of any voted debt issue, slightly more than the expected debt service requirements are collected to offset any potential lag between taxes levied and actual taxes received by the issuer. This calculation is done yearly; if we collect more than needed to pay bondholders in 2014, the excess could be returned to taxpayers in the form of a lower levy rate in 2015.
“Green” Advocate Joins Committee
Lori Taylor, MS, RD, who leads Whidbey General’s Green Team, became an ad hoc member of our Building Committee in December.
The committee wants to explore ways to make the new addition an energy-efficient, low-waste facility that supports the wellbeing of patients, providers and staff while contributing to a healthier bottom line.
Taylor, a graduate of the Ecology of Leadership Program of the Regenerative Design Institute, coordinates Whidbey General’s sustainability efforts. She will act as a resource for the Building Committee as plans for the hospital addition take shape.
A clinical dietitian, Taylor has worked at Whidbey General for four years. The Green Team received a Health Hero Award from Island County in 2013 for efforts to reduce the hospital’s environmental impact. “This is an exciting time,” says Taylor. “I am honored to have this opportunity to serve my hospital.”