$2.4M goes to Kona hospital for AC, operating rooms upgrades

  • Kona Community Hospital. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — Gov. David Ige on Thursday released $2.4 million in construction funds for renovations at Kona Community Hospital.

That will include work on operating rooms as well as upgrades to heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

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Judy Donovan, Kona Community Hospital spokeswoman, said the hospital has been working on renovations and upgrades for some time now, saying the HVAC system being installed is a “multi-year, hospital-wide project” that will replace the original system now more than 40 years old.

In areas where work has already been completed, she said, the new system offers “comfortable and efficient climate control.”

“Because of the new efficiencies,” she said, “the HVAC will cost less to operate than the original system.

HVAC installation is taking place in phases with roughly half of the hospital now upgraded. Donovan said they estimate the project will be finished in five years.

The surgical services modernization effort, which launched last April is a “floor-to-ceiling” renovation and upgrade of the hospital’s three operating rooms.

“These investments will make it that much easier for the hospital and its staff to make vital contributions to our community,” said Sen. Dru Kanuha (D-Kona, Ka‘u). “I look forward to continuing to work with the governor in advocating for the hospital and our community’s needs going forward.”

The new operating rooms, Donovan said, will include upgraded technologies to provide high-quality surgical services.

“The goal is to help patients reach the best post-surgery outcomes possible,” she said.

Construction on operating room 1 is on target to finish next month. The whole project is expected to wrap up in March of next year.

Ige in a statement also touted the impact the project’s will have on supporting the region.

“Projects such as these are critical components of the public infrastructure,” he said, “and contribute to building a better home for our kupuna, keiki, and the residents of Hawaii.”

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The release of funds for the Kealakekua hospital comes on the heels of $500,000 the governor released a week prior to go toward construction of North Hawaii Community Hospital’s expanded emergency department.

That $25 million undertaking will increase the emergency department from its current 3,300 square feet to more than 12,000 square feet and from six treatment rooms to 13, of which two will be trauma rooms. It’s expected to open in early 2020.

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