Washington Adventist Hospital plans expansion

Oct. 6, 2003, midnight | By Caitlin Garlow | 17 years, 3 months ago

Citizens worry about congestion in the community

Washington Adventist Hospital, part of the Adventist Health Care System, recently agreed to work with the neighborhood citizen association, Sensible Hospital Growth, by looking for an off-campus location for their new medical center.

In addition to a medical center, the hospital's further plans for construction include a 1200 car garage for the office building, renovated obstetrics services, an expanded emergency room, and a new ambulatory care center.

According to Bill Hernandez, Chairman of Sensible Hospital Growth, Washington Adventist Hospital emergency room has been stressed due to too many patients in the last few years, especially those without insurance. This year alone the hospital received 10,000 more visits than it was built to accommodate, according to Claritas Inc., an information resources company.

Sensible Hospital Growth spent the past two years requesting expansion that would not exacerbate the traffic congestion around the intersection of Carroll and Flower Avenue. The intersection, already plagued by congestion during rush hour, simply could not handle the extra traffic that would be brought in by the new office building and emergency care ward, says Hernandez. "[The expansion] would add somewhere around 200 more cars per hour to the area. People are already grid locked in their driveways in the morning," said Hernandez.

Having a renovated emergency room equipped with the newest technology would outweigh the traffic problems, according to Carol Stewart, County Council Member for Ward 2. "The wait [for emergency care] would be shortened," she said. "Certainly traffic patterns will change, but I don't think that there will be very negative results."

Sensible Growth proposed locating the medical office building off-campus, as the planned center would not have a very community friendly design, according to Hernandez. The plans for the office building would include large glass windows, allowing for light pollution at night, and the extra traffic from workers in the building would lead to extensive noise and air pollution throughout the day. "They're not really designing buffer zones, like soundproof walls or bushes," said Hernandez, who considers himself a strong advocate of harmony with nature.

However, building the medical center on-site would allow doctors to travel from their offices to see patients with little difficulty, according to Stewart. "The preferred way would be to have the medical office building on campus," she said. "It would save the doctors time and allow patients to be seen more quickly."

Recently the hospital has begun looking for an alternate site to build the medical office center. No schedule has been released on the progress, however. "It's just a conversation at this point," said Marc Elrich, County Council Member for Ward 5.

In addition to heavy traffic and air pollution, citizens have voiced concerns about pedestrian safety. World History teacher James Mogge, who lives near the intersection, mentioned that new traffic patterns would be especially difficult on students. "I think that the people of the community are used to the way [the traffic] is now. I'm worried that we won't be able to adjust."

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Caitlin Garlow. Caitlin is a second-semester senior at last. Her favorite things include making fun of her homeless sister and hunting down her clothes in other people's closets. More »

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