Major construction projects at Alaska’s two largest hospitals continue this summer, with some phases finishing soon.Renovations began last year at 254-bed Alaska Regional Hospital on a $26 million project, and a $30 million upgrade began at Providence Alaska Medical Center, with 341 beds. Officials from the Anchorage facilities expect to complete phases of the projects next month.The two projects are slated for completion in 2002.Alaska Native Medical Center also plans construction this summer. NBBJ of Seattle, architects of that facility, which was completed in 1997, have studied future changes, hospital facility engineer Robert Wilson said at the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce luncheon April 23. Within the next 10 years the cost to implement the upgrades could be at least $14.6 million, he said.Work this year should include remodeling the day surgery department, preparing an eighth operating room for service, renovating the lab and upgrading Quyana House, a 59-bed hostel, Wilson said. He told Chamber members that designs were nearly complete and a contractor had been chosen for the project, which could be finished in October.The expansions are necessary to meet the growing need for health care services in Alaska, hospital officials told the luncheon audience."We’ve certainly seen an increase in volumes as the state continues to grow," said Ed Lamb, Alaska Regional president and chief executive.Providence in Alaska provides services for about 150,000 people annually from its nine locations, including facilities in Seward and Kodiak, said Gene O’Hara, Providence Alaska Medical Center chief executive. In Alaska the company employs about 3,200 people and projects net revenue of $350 million for 2001, he said.Alaska Regional Hospital broke ground in September on renovations to its Anchorage facility. Work includes relocating the current lobby to the opposite side of the building. The new three-story atrium lobby will feature glass elevators, a new patient admitting area plus added parking outside the area.Other upgrades will include more operating rooms, expanding and adding equipment to the radiology department and adding larger rooms in labor and delivery."Work is almost complete on the first phases of Alaska Regional’s construction," said Kjerstin Lastufka, director of marketing and public relations. "The new lobby and front entrance -- currently the entrance to radiation therapy -- will be complete in June," she said.The new entrance will help accommodate an increasing number of front-door patients resulting from medical advancements that allow for more outpatient services, she said.Renovations to the labor and delivery area should be done in June, she noted. Work expands the department plus provides a new antepartum room, tub room, counseling rooms, waiting area and staff break room, Lastufka said.Phase two of Alaska Regional’s major construction project begins this summer."Remodeling the inside of the hospital begins in July and will take about a year to complete," she said. Hospital officials plan major renovations to surgery, radiology, registration, the lobby, the gift shop, the doctors’ dining area and classrooms, she said.Providence also aims to finish and begin operating parts of its expansion starting in June."On June 19 we move in and go live with our new (emergency room) department," said assistant administrator Vince Huntington.Next, construction will renovate the former emergency room space for an expanded surgery space, adding 11,000 square feet for surgery support, he said. Three new operating rooms should be completed by August and added to the existing three operating rooms in day surgery, he said. The surgery expansion is due to continue through April or May 2002 and represents the last phase of the multiyear project, he said.The construction project at Providence set out to expand the emergency and day surgery departments and add two floors of medical office space. Work began in March 2000.The project adds 100,000 square feet to the emergency and day surgery departments. Work also expands the recovery area.Included in this part of the project is expanding the entry and lobby areas to provide a new public gallery for community events hosted by the hospital.The gallery, or public circulation corridor, featuring granite-tile floors, a fireplace and high ceilings, should be open July 1, Huntington said. However, the area will serve other purposes until construction is completed in other areas, he said.Providence officials plan to remodel the 20-year-old cafeteria this summer, and the public circulation corridor will temporarily accommodate diners during construction, Huntington said. Some summer outdoor barbecues also are planned during the project.Construction around the cafeteria provides an opportunity for the roughly $600,000 cafeteria upgrade, he said. Although the kitchens will remain unchanged, work will remodel the cafeteria by adding private booths, a specialty coffee shop and an updated serving line, he said.