Spokane Journal of Business

Eye clinic here plans big new building near downtown

Four-story facility expected to cost nearly $10 million, will include surgery center

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Spokane Eye Clinic PS plans to have a new $9.6 million, 44,000-square-foot building erected for it at 427 S. Bernard, just north of its current facility in the medical district south of downtown.

The four-story medical-office building, to be owned by an affiliated company called Inland Empire Optical LLC, will be situated on land that currently serves as a parking lot for the busy clinic, which has branch offices on the North Side and in Spokane Valley and employs 17 doctors and 143 employees companywide.

Scott Glennie, the clinics CEO, says the new structure will include two floors of clinical and office space atop two floors of parking. The clinics current two-story, 15,000-square-foot building, which it has occupied since 1955, will be razed once the new structure is completed, and the site of the older building will be used for surface parking, Glennie says. Also, a separate surgery center the clinic operates at the other end of the block, at 208 W. Fifth, will be moved into the new structure. The clinic doesnt know yet what it will do with that 6,300-square-foot building after it vacates it.

Site development for the new building is expected to start next month, and construction likely will begin in March and take 15 months to complete, Glennie says. Ramey Construction Co., of Spokane, is the contractor for the project, and OMS Inc., of Spokane, and Atlanta-based Medical Design International designed the structure, he says. The project is being financed by Spokane-based Sterling Savings Bank.

Spokane Eye Clinic will lease the building from Inland Empire Optical, which shares common ownership with the clinic, he says.

The new facility will accommodate a total of nine ophthalmologists and optometrists and 97 employees initially, compared with the six doctors and 91 employees who work in the current building, Glennie says. The clinic plans to hire more doctors and employees at a steady pace in the future, he says.

Also, the new facility will allow the clinics surgery center to grow to five operating rooms, from the three it has currently.

As the population of our region grows and the baby boomer generation ages, we find that the need for general and specialty eye care also is growing, Glennie says. We believe that our new facility will help us keep up with growing demand.

Spokane Eye Clinic also will have enough room in the new facility to conduct clinical research, he says. One or two examination rooms will be dedicated to research, and the clinic plans to hire a research coordinator. The clinic doesnt have specific research work lined up yet, but plans to work with pharmaceutical companies on studies of drug treatments and protocols, he says.

The new building will increase the amount of space the clinic can devote to diagnostic testing and treatment, Glennie says. In addition to routine services such as eye examinations, the clinic offers specialized services such as cataract surgery with multi-focal lens implants, laser surgery, and management of diabetic eye disease. Other services include treatment of glaucoma, corneal disorders, retinal detachment and degeneration, and vitreous disease; treatment of pediatric eye disorders; eye-lid reconstruction; and neuron-ophthalmology, he says.

Spokane Eye Clinics other branches are located at 31 E. Central and 12525 E. Mission. An affiliated concern called Spokane Optical Co. operates inside each of the clinics and sells glasses and contacts.

Spokane Eye Clinic generally attracts patients from Eastern Washington, North Idaho, Western Montana, and British Columbia, Glennie says.

Contact Emily Proffitt at (509) 344-1265 or via e-mail at emilyp@spokanejournal.com.

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