WENATCHEE — Quaint suburban homes surrounded by autumn colors sit across from the concrete behemoth that is Confluence Health’s new parking garage at Central Washington Hospital.
The $10.6 million parking garage is nearing completion and should open Oct. 28, providing 835 parking spaces, said Andrew Canning, Confluence Health spokesman. Construction started March 4. Crews removed 30,000 cubic yards of soil, poured 7,600 cubic yards of concrete and placed 1 million pounds of steel into the structure.
“It is a big garage with a tight time frame,” said Aaron Binger, Confluence Health Enterprise Project Management director. “It is a lot of concrete as you can see looking around here and we actually had a pretty good-sized hole to dig.”
One of the biggest reasons for this project was to reduce the amount of parking on neighborhood side streets, Binger said. When the garage is completed patients and staff will be encouraged to park on the hospital’s campus.
“One of the biggest things: this is not a money-maker for the hospital,” he said. “This is doing the right thing for staff, patients and the community. So we’re trying to get them off of in front of their houses and parking here in the garage (instead).”
The hospital also considered impacts to the neighborhood in its design, Binger said. The lighting the garage uses is brightest at its center and gets dimmer closer to the road, so homes don’t get flooded by bright bulbs. They also added landscaping to help the garage blend in with the surrounding neighborhoods.
“Just putting in thoughtful landscaping in there so try to blend it a little bit better and it wasn’t just this big concrete box sticking out of thin air, if you will,” he said.
One of the challenges Confluence Health faced during the construction was the loss of 300 parking spaces that were at that site before, Canning said. During construction employees were encouraged to find alternative forms of transportation and the hospital provided a shuttle service.
“We offered shuttles to employees and we kind of encouraged folks to park in alternative lots and then we meet them in the morning and shuttle them on campus,” he said.
The design of the parking structure is simple, but it provides easy access off of Miller Street and Red Apple Road, Binger said.
“It is post tension so it allows for bigger floor plates that are way more open so you don’t have as many columns in the way,” he said. “We have larger parking stalls in general too so that really accommodates the people and the type of vehicles they drive here in Wenatchee.”