Neeser Construction – Alaska Native Medical Center Patient Housing Facility
Neeser Construction builds patient housing for Alaska hospital.
By Bob Rakow
For many rural Alaskans, one of the most significant hurdles to accessing quality health care services is distance. The Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC) is constantly working to increase access to health care services for its patients.
Located in Anchorage, the state’s largest city, the hospital is part of the Alaska Tribal Health System, a network of facilities that provides services to Alaska Native and American Indian people throughout the state. More than 60 percent of patients receiving care at ANMC travel to Anchorage from remote communities.
ANMC serves more than 150,000 Alaska Native and American Indian people living throughout the state. ANMC is one of only two Level II trauma centers, the only hospital with certification as a comprehensive pediatric emergency facility and the only Magnet-recognized hospital for nursing excellence in Alaska. ANMC is an acute, specialty, primary and behavioral health care provider that includes a 162-bed hospital, as well as a full range of medical specialties, primary care services and lab services.
Solving Housing Problem
The primary challenge for many ANMC patients and their families is securing housing while receiving treatment at the facility. But Neeser Construction is in the midst of a significant construction project designed to alleviate that problem.
One of the largest general contractors in Alaska, Neeser Construction is building the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) Patient Housing Project. “The facility is designed for patients who come from outside of Anchorage and the Matanuska Valley,” Project Manager Neil Bhargava says.
The 110,000-square-foot housing facility will be built on property adjacent to the hospital, connected via sky bridge, and will provide direct access to the hospital for patients and their families, including Elders, expectant mothers and young children. In addition, the facility is designed to serve as a home away from home.
The facility was designed to meet many patient and family needs. The $40 million housing complex will feature 202 rooms, a dedicated 36-room floor for expectant mothers and their families, sky bridge access to ANMC and the adjacent parking garage, and communal living and cooking areas. Other amenities will include a dining facility, play area, exercise room, self-serve laundry facilities and access to walking trails. The facility will feature 140 single rooms and 60 double rooms.
The new facility is scheduled to open in winter 2017. Currently, crews are framing the inside of the six-story building. “The project is on track, and it’s on budget,” Bhargava says. “Neeser Construction crews have made excellent progress.”
The goundbreaking ceremony for the project was held in May 2015, and the foundation work was finished two months later. Steel and roofing work were completed in November 2015. Construction of the sky bridge is expected to start in spring 2016. The steel frame building will feature attractive architectural metal panels on the exterior to contrast the skyline of the Chugach mountain vistas of Anchorage.
“Construction has gone smoothly for the most part,” Bhargava says. “But staging has been difficult. The site is very tight and there’s not a lot of room for staging.”
This is not Neeser’s first involvement with ANMC. Indeed, the company has performed projects on the Alaska Native Health Campus since 1997. In 2008, The company built a four-level, 172,000-square-foot parking structure on the campus, one of Neeser’s many design/build projects to expand the Anchorage Native Primary Care Center.
With 60 percent of ANMC patients traveling to Anchorage for care, many are referred to local hotels when Quyana House, the current, 54-room, 108-bed facility is full. This project will alleviate this issue by providing additional onsite housing.
ANMC is jointly owned and managed by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) and Southcentral Foundation (SCF) and includes the hospital and the Anchorage Native Primary Care Center. These parent organizations have established a joint operating board to ensure unified operation of health services provided by the medical center.
The hospital works in close partnership with Alaska’s rural health facilities to support a broad range of health care and related services.
Neeser Construction has been recognized by multiple awards statewide and nationally since 1989 for its excellent work and design/build capabilities. Most recently, in 2015, the company won the Associated General Contractors of Alaska’s award for best vertical construction project between $5 and $15 million for its work on the KTUU Channel 2 Northern Lights Media Center.