The ground is officially broken and much of the concrete and rebar is in place, but local health care officials say the foundation for the major expansion of Olympic Medical Cancer Center in Sequim came directly from the community.
“We asked for community donations and they gave more than $1.2 million,” Olympic Medical Center CEO Eric Lewis said. “Out of a $4.4 million project, a big chunk of that came from community members.”
Bruce Skinner, Olympic Medical Center Foundation’s executive director, said 282 local residents contributed to the capital campaign.
OMC leaders and others celebrated the kickoff of the expansion with a ceremonial groundbreaking on April 16, but workers from the Poulsbo-based JMG Constructors LLC were hard at work in days and weeks prior, adding the infrastructure for what OMC officials say is a significant expansion particularly for the OMCC facility’s pharmacy and medical oncology services.
“The main focus (with the expansion) is the pharmacy,” OMCC director Dean Putt said last week. “There will be a lot more space to mix.”
The 3,700-square-foot expansion boasts both hazardous and non-hazardous mixing rooms and an adjoining anteroom for staff to “gown up,” Putt said.
Other key additions from the project include:
• Six new private infusion suites, with five existing private rooms being remodeled;
• A new nurse workstation, with open view of all infusion treatment rooms;
• Four additional medical oncology/hematology exam rooms;
• A teaching/consultation room;
• A supportive care area for integrative medicine, and,
• Remodeled clinical and scheduling offices.
“We’re building what we need for the foreseeable future,” Lewis said. “Expansion is a big step forward for our cancer services.”
Designed by Coates Design Architects, the expansion saw community members donate about $1.2 million through the Olympic Medical Center Foundation.
Bill Littlejohn — a Sequim businessman, philanthropist and major donor to the expansion — said at the groundbreaking event, “I’m always amazed at how many people I run into in this community who thank me for being part of the cancer center.”
OMC officials on Tuesday thanked for their major donations Bill and Esther Littlejohn, Barbara and George Brown, and First Federal.
Putt, OMCC director since last June, said the expansion is set to be completed by January 2020 but that OMC staff is expecting to have new sections available for use by October 2019.
For users, the cancer center will “feel larger, more open, (with services) feeding right into the new section,” he said.
OMCC sees about 70-80 new patients each month, with as many as 30 patients each day receiving treatment and another 30-40 each day in the infusion center, Putt said.
The biggest change in treating cancer in recent years, he said, is in the field of gene therapy, or “using a person’s immune system to attack the cancer.”
And though the expansion will help Olympic Medical Center be ready for the next decade of treating cancer, Lewis said rapid changes in cancer treatment technology already has OMC staff preparing for another expansion.
He said OMCC employs about 60 staff members.
“The building is a tool (but the staffers) are the ones that deliver the care and make a difference for our patients,” Lewis said.
Olympic Medical Cancer Center is at 844 N. Fifth Ave. For more information about the facility, see www.olympicmedical.org/default.aspx?ID=40.