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December 13, 2011 > New Central Utility Plant Opens Ahead of Schedule

New Central Utility Plant Opens Ahead of Schedule

Submitted By Clayton Warren

Washington Hospital, the local provider of healthcare for the Tri-City area and one of the region's best medical facilities, today opened a state of the art Central Utility Plant that will provide energy for the campus' expansion and modernization for decades to come.

"We are rebuilding and upgrading important facilities on the Washington Hospital campus so that our community continues to have a top-notch health care system that will carry us well into the 21st century," said Nancy Farber, chief executive officer of Washington Hospital Healthcare System. "The Central Utility Plant, completed ahead of schedule and meeting every emissions standard, is a critical component because it will power all of our facilities of the future with three times the generating power of our old plant, provide life-saving power in the event of an emergency, and be seismically sound."

In January 2009, Washington Hospital Healthcare System began the first phase of several renovation projects that are taking place at Washington Hospital. The Central Utility Plant is the first completed building funded by Measure FF, a $190 million bond measure approved by the voters of Washington Township Health Care District in November 2004. The 37,000-square-foot Central Utility Plant will support all the critical functions the Hospital needs to operate 24 hours a day throughout the year. This includes boilers for heating, hot water for bathing and other uses, steam generation for sterilization and autoclaving, and medical gases, such as oxygen. The plant also houses a modern, energy and water efficient laundry.

"The opening of the Central Utility Plant is very exciting for us because it marks a significant milestone in the expansion and modernization of Washington Hospital for the next generation," added Farber. "Now that we have completed this stage, we can move forward on the construction of a new, state of the art emergency room that will provide life-saving services for this community."

The Central Utility Plant will have more than enough capacity to support all functions of Washington Hospital's campus of the future. It will also power the existing Hospital and any future building projects that are part of the Master Plan. This ensures the Hospital will continue to be fully operational throughout construction and will meet the community's needs in the future.

The project has received a PG&E rebate for its high efficiency chiller. It also was allowed the maximum rebate by PG&E under their 'Savings by Design' program, evaluated using a lifecycle cost evaluation methodology, and will save the District 480,000 kilowatt hours per year.

The Central Utility Plant is also vitally important because it will make it possible for Washington Hospital to continue functioning in the event of a power outage or major disaster, such as an earthquake. With the new generators supplying up to three times the amount of emergency power available to the existing facility, the Hospital will be able to continue functioning independently for at least seven days.

The Central Utility Plant has the following specifications: (1) On-campus storage tanks have the capacity to store more than 70,000 gallons of diesel fuel to generate emergency power. If fuel can be replenished, the Hospital will be able to continue functioning for an unlimited period of time. (2) The Central Utility Plant will be able to produce up to 6 megawatts of power from the new generators. (3) The generators meet all emissions standards and are designed to run clean, quiet and safe.

Washington Township Health Care District is governed by an elected board and includes Washington Hospital Healthcare System. Unlike a municipal or county hospital, Washington Hospital's operating expenses, research, community programs, and employee salaries are funded by revenues generated through providing patient and other health care services. Washington Hospital Healthcare System includes a 359-bed acute-care hospital; the Taylor McAdam Bell Neuroscience Institute; The Gamma Knife(r) Center; Washington Radiation Oncology Center; Washington Outpatient Surgery Center; Washington Outpatient Rehabilitation Center; Washington Outpatient Catheterization Laboratory; Washington Center for Joint Replacement; the Institute for Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery; and Washington West, a complex which houses Washington Women's Center, Outpatient Imaging Center and additional outpatient hospital services and administrative facilities.

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