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It’s been relatively smooth sailing until now at the St. Ignatius THHS Clinic project

By B.L. Azure

After a couple of months of preparatory work cement was poured for the floors of the south wing of the St. Ignatius THHS Clinic in mid-October. (B.L. Azure photo)After a couple of months of preparatory work cement was poured for the floors of the south wing of the St. Ignatius THHS Clinic in mid-October. (B.L. Azure photo)

ST. IGNATIUS — It’s not often that everything goes according to plan in the construction field. There are usually unforeseen bumps in the road that knock the construction schedule off a day or two — more likely a week or two. Not so, until recently, in the demolition, construction and remodeling project at the St. Ignatius Tribal Health and Human Services Clinic. The three-phased project has been running a couple of weeks ahead of schedule in phase-two that is scheduled for completion this June. However, a recent supply chain backup has knocked a bit of glow behind the heretofore ahead of schedule project aura.

Bob Hilley, construction superintendent for Swank Enterprises, Inc. of Kalispell and Valier, the general contractor for the $5 million project, said the construction is probably going to lose any schedule gain waiting for the completion of the ironwork and delivery of roof trusses.

Masons smooth out recently poured cement for the floor of the south wing of the St. Ignatius THHS Clinic. (B.L. Azure photo)Masons smooth out recently poured cement for the floor of the south wing of the St. Ignatius THHS Clinic. (B.L. Azure photo)

“The walls should be up by the end of the day,” Hilley said Tuesday. “But then we’ll have to wait until the ironwork — it is very complicated — is done for the main entry and lobby area, and until the delivery of the wooden roof trusses.”

Hilley said work would not grind to a halt, just scaled back a bit, while waiting for the ironwork and roof trusses. The ironwork has to be completed prior to the trusses going up.

“There is a lot of work remaining with the walls once we put them up today,” he said. “Because of their design related to fireproofing there is a lot of labor intensive work that has to be done to them once they are erected.”

Once walls are up, and the roof is on and secured work will focus on the interior of the building this winter.

The first phase of the project included securing the construction site and setting up the upgraded electrical system.

The second phase included the demolition of the south wing of the clinic that housed, among other things, the Community Health, Physical Therapy and Tobacco Prevention programs. It also includes the construction of the new south wing that will house the clinical, dental, physical therapy and pharmacy programs and associated offices.

Once the cement cured the erection of the walls for the St. Ignatius THHS Clinic followed suit. (B.L. Azure photo)Once the cement cured the erection of the walls for the St. Ignatius THHS Clinic followed suit. (B.L. Azure photo)

The second phase of the project is scheduled to be complete June 12, 2014. Once completed the dislocated programs will move into the new digs with a bit of dedication fanfare.

Then work will begin on phase-three of the project that includes, among other things, remodeling of the remaining northern section that will house Behavioral Health and the Diabetes programs as well as the administrative offices. The third-phase is scheduled to began June 27 and be completed by December 11, 2014.

The 18-month project is funded by revenue Tribal Health collects from third-party reimbursements for health care services it provides at its five clinics.

The new St. Ignatius THHS Clinic will have 37,000 square feet that include 14,800 square feet of new construction; 14,800 square feet of extensive remodeled floor space; and 7,400 square feet of existing floor space with minor remodeling. All floor space will have new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system installed. A new roof will be cap the entire structure.

Now that the walls are going up the public can get a better mind’s eye glimpse of what the St. Ignatius THHS Clinic will look like. (B.L. Azure photo)Now that the walls are going up the public can get a better mind’s eye glimpse of what the St. Ignatius THHS Clinic will look like. (B.L. Azure photo)

MacArthur, Means and Wells Architects, PC (MMW) of Missoula is the project architectural design firm. MMW’s Colin Lane is the lead architect and oversight manager of the project.

MMW designed the new CSKT headquarters building and pedestrian overpass in Pablo as well as the arts building and science building at Salish Kootenai College, and the Arlee Community Center, and has extensive expertise in the design of health care and institutional facilities.

Swank Enterprises of Kalispell and Valier was awarded the project general contract. Bob Hilley is the project construction superintendent.

Swank Enterprises has more than 35 years of experience of, among other things, constructing medical and institutional facilities.

Swank Enterprises recently constructed a new portion of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Police Department’s jail facility in Pablo as well as the Polson THHS Clinic kiddie corner from the Lake County Courthouse.

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