The V.I. Government Hospital and Health Facilities Corporation Territorial Board — the board of directors for the Virgin Islands hospitals on St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John — learned Wednesday night that the Charlotte Kimmelman Cancer Institute could be rebuilt as soon as December 2023.
During the meeting, Chris Ressler, project manager for the Kimmelman rebuilding, working for architectural and engineering firm EYP, gave a slide presentation on the work of the firm to date and projected completion dates, with comments from Daryl Smalls, executive director of the Territorial Hospital Redevelopment Team.
Due to the extensive damage from the 2017 hurricanes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved rebuilding the entire structure. To get started, evaluations were performed including a site survey, and EYP’s architectural, engineering and building survey. There also was a geotechnical report and an envelope survey by Geotech with recommendations to replace the roof, wall system, seals and windows.
Geotech recommended an elastomeric surface to replace the stucco on the outside of the clinic for more strength and durability and to reseal and reglaze windows. The other, more expensive, items are “in great shape,” according to Ressler.
Soon, the team will seek bids to install medical equipment. They have made “good progress” on interior finish materials that were approved by staff and the administration. The design and layouts will be modernized to meet current standards and have also been approved by the staff, Ressler said.
The facility will be expanded somewhat to meet the growing needs of the community across the territory. There will be a conference room and an auditorium and the outdoor staff lounge will be filled in for additional exam and pediatric exam rooms.
There are plans to modernize the lobby, waiting room and infusion areas to meet current health codes, Ressler said, to create a “world-class infusion center.” Additionally, IT and security will be standardized throughout the Schneider Regional Medical Center facilities.
The project has reached the point where bids have been received to demolish the facility. J. Benton Construction LLC; Lemartec, USVI Inc.; Continental Construction and Engineering LLC; and Four Star Construction LLC have submitted proposals to conduct the demolition of the Charlotte Kimmelman Cancer Institute. No one has been selected yet.
Since FEMA determined that Schneider Regional will also be replaced, Smalls said the federal government has assured them there will be sufficient funding to ensure that the Charlotte Kimmelman Cancer Institute is a stand-alone facility. Rebuilding Schneider will not impact the institute, he added.
Currently, the team is working to complete other bid documents. Ressler said the target date is Sept. 6, or sooner, so that bidding can begin.
Next, an important hearing with the Department of Planning and Natural Resources will begin on Aug. 30, according to Smalls. There will be several meetings with Planning and Natural Resources before a final presentation will be approved. The final documents must be submitted to FEMA for construction to begin.
The completed facility is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023. Smalls said there are no issues with the building site, nor any major excavation — cutting down on construction time.
“We don’t anticipate any challenges in receiving that favorable determination,” Smalls said.
During the board meeting, Tina Commissiong, CEO of Schneider Regional, gave an update on the hospital. Of the $10 million received from the V.I. Government last week, $8 million will be used over the next four years to retain personnel and $2 million will pay for medical technology.
She said a pay scale has been agreed on with Juan F. Luis Hospital and they will present it to the Office of Collective Bargaining for three nursing unions. Hopefully, new salaries will help to hire and retain staff, she said.
Upcoming next week is a Senate hearing on the Schneider Hospital 2022-23 budget and a surprise visit is expected from the Joint Commission at any time, Commissiong reported.
The board voted to approve three medical professionals for initial appointments to Schneider and nine for re-appointments.
Other votes may have been taken during the executive session to cover upcoming construction projects.
Attending the meeting were: Chairman Christopher Finch, Vice Chairman Dr. Jerry Smith, Jenifer O’Neal, Justa Encarnacion, Dr. Anne Treasure, Greta Hary-Hyndman, Fay John-Baptiste, Marise James and Bosede Bruce.