One of the parking lots at Central Peninsula Hospital will get a $1.5 million makeover following approval by the hospital’s board of directors and by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly.
The lot, which is located between CPH’s Mountain Tower entrance and the River Tower, will see the relocation of handicap parking spaces closer to the building as well as the installation of heated sidewalks. In their own legislation approving requesting funding for the project, the CPH Board of Directors specifically cited the high demand for parking spaces that comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) at health care facilities.
The technology used to heat the sidewalks is similar to what is used to heat flooring in residential houses, and is consistent with other heated parking areas at the hospital. The area being upgraded will be the last to be updated at the hospital.
“The goal is to make it easier for people who have disabilities to get into the hospital,” CPH External Affairs Director Bruce Richards said Monday.
Under the construction changes, patients will be able to pull directly up to the building and step out of their vehicles onto heated sidewalks. Currently, handicap parking spots are located toward the middle of the lot, meaning people who park there must then travel through the parking lot to get the hospital entrance. That can become tricky during the winter, when icy lots and gravel become added obstacles. As more and more people become eligible for handicap parking placards, Richards said, the need to change the space grows.
“Our community is aging,” Richards said.
In a memo to the assembly, Borough Finance Director Brandi Harbaugh and Purchasing & Contracting Director John Hedges said that the project has been identified as a “priority need” for the hospital in the past. Design efforts are currently underway, with completion of the handicap area of the parking lot later this year.
According to the legislation passed by the assembly, there are enough funds in the Central Peninsula Hospital Plant Replacement and Expansion Fund to pay for the project, to which $1.5 million was allocated.
During a May 4 meeting of the assembly’s finance committee, Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce described the lot reconstruction as a “leftover” element of CPH’s most recent remodel. Hedges added that it made more sense financially to expand construction to include the whole lot than to focus on the specific section initially targeted.
“It makes sense for us to add some scope to that work that stretches the development or improvement all the way over to the River Tower section,” Hedges said. “So we’re coming back and asking for an additional appropriation to cover the cost of upgrading from the Mountain Tower entrance … all the way over to the River Tower portion.”