Spokane Journal of Business

St. Luke's Rehabilitation Hospital starts $7.7 million upgrade

Improvements expected to reduce energy usage by almost 40 percent

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St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute has launched a $7.7 million energy-services and utility-upgrade project that's expected to reduce energy consumption at its main campus by almost 40 percent, says Randy Sharshan, director of facilities and safety for St. Luke's.

Projections suggest the 18-month project will lead to an annual savings of $207,000 in energy and operational costs, Sharshan says.

St. Luke's main campus, at 711 S. Cowley, includes a 100,000-square-foot, three-level hospital building and a 26,000-square-foot medical office building.

Apollo Solutions Group, a division of Kennewick, Wash.-based Apollo Sheet Metal Inc., is the contractor on the project, which it also designed, says Alex Banks, the division director.

"Apollo Solutions Group is providing a turnkey project from start to finish," Banks says. "We identified opportunities for improvements and facilitated financing and incentives."

Apollo will hire several Spokane-area subcontractors to work on the project, which will generate the equivalent of roughly 75 full-time jobs throughout the construction phase, Banks says.

The project is being funded through the sale of bonds that will be repaid through the savings in energy and operations, Sharshan says. As part of a performance guarantee in place on the project, Apollo would be liable for any shortfall in projected savings, he says.

Spokane-based Avista Corp. also is providing $72,000 in incentives, Sharshan says.

Paying for the improvements with bond funds up front will preserve capital that otherwise would have to come out of the operating budget, he says.

The project will improve mechanical infrastructure campuswide, starting with replacing its main boiler with a more efficient hot water system, Sharshan says. The project also includes installing a backup chiller that will kick in to drive the water-cooled air conditioning system if the main chiller fails, he says.

Apollo will replace all three rooftop air-handling units and the rest of the air-distribution system throughout the facilities, Banks adds.

The interior and exterior lighting fixtures will be replaced with high-efficiency fixtures, he says.

The project also will include some renewable power generation via new rooftop-mounted solar cells, which will reduce further the amount of energy that St. Luke's will have to buy, Banks says.

For the most part, the work won't change the appearance of the facilities.

"From outside it's not going to look different except for panels on roof, but in the mechanical spaces, there's going to be big changes," Banks says.

St. Luke's is a rehabilitation hospital specializing in comprehensive inpatient and outpatient therapy for people of all ages with the goal of returning them to their most independent lifestyle after a traumatic injury or illness.

The facility originally was constructed in the 1960s as an acute-care hospital. "Its systems are not only outdated, but they were intended for different uses altogether," Banks says.

Mike McLean
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Reporter Mike McLean covers real estate and construction at the Journal of Business. A multipurpose fisherman and vintage record album aficionado, Mike has worked for the Journal since 2006.

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