Clinic expansion is on track

The Eastern Plumas Health Care board of directors voted at the June 22 meeting to award a contract for the Portola Clinic expansion to McCuen Construction of Loomis.

The addition will house EPHC’s new behavioral health program.

EPHC advertised the project and solicited bids by sending out notices to 13 construction companies, explained CEO Tom Hayes. Bidding was opened on June 14, and only two companies placed bids. McCuen Construction, Inc. was the low bidder at $2,730,000. Colin Construction was the other company and their bid was much higher.

McCuen is currently completing the Nakoma exercise facility project. They save money, Hayes explained, because they have their own concrete and framing staff, whereas “Colin would have had to subcontract and pay for housing, etc.”

Hayes reported that Nakoma gave McCuen a positive review. In addition, McCuen has completed successful projects for local schools in Portola, Loyalton and Quincy.

Importantly, said Hayes, “they had few change orders.” Staying close to the original bid amount means no surprise cost increases. “My recommendation,” said Hayes, “is to go ahead with McCuen.”

The permanent addition to the Portola Medical Clinic will be 6,200 square feet. This PRIME Grant funded behavioral health project, which amounts to $750,000 per year for five years, is meant in part to pay for infrastructure such as the new extension, said Hayes.

When the project is complete, EPHC will go on to remodel the existing clinic building. The new addition will be built on two levels because of the topography. The basement level will include administration, storage, a conference room and a required elevator.

In addition, a generator will be installed adjacent to the new building, which will serve both the behavioral health and medical wings of the clinic.

“Power goes out fairly often,” said Hayes. “A generator allows us to continue operations.”

Finally, there will be a new entrance to the entire building in the new behavioral health wing.

Hayes also discussed the requirement for EPHC to upgrade its hospital building to meet seismic standards by 2030. Previously, an entire new building was going to be required, including a new medical clinic. The cost, said Hayes, would have been exorbitant.

New building classifications, however, allow the current hospital to continue in use as long as certain structural retrofits are completed by 2030.

Hayes hopes the project will cost around $2 million, rather than the staggering $30 million projected cost of a new building. Since the current project includes a clinic upgrade, Hayes feels comfortable limiting the 2030 hospital project to the required retrofit.