Web cameras allow Oregon State Hospital viewers to observe construction progress

From the Salem Stateman Journal, August 6 2009

State hospital project raises visibility

    Anyone interested in the Oregon State Hospital Replacement Project construction can now follow the progress and developments via Web cam. While primarily a security feature for Hoffman Construction, three cameras have been installed at the construction site and capture the day-to-day activity on the OSH Salem campus. Photos are updated every 15 minutes and the Web site will allow users to view images from previous days. What viewers will see now is the preparation work being done for the Admissions, Behavior and Corrections unit of the new hospital.

    SEE – Oregon State Hospital Replacement Project Web Cam

Internet users now can track day-to-day progress being made on construction of a new state psychiatric hospital in central Salem.

Three Web cameras installed by a state-hired construction company provide bird’s-eye photos of ongoing development at the Oregon State Hospital campus.

Starting this week, Oregonians can view the photos on a state Web site. The images get updated every 15 minutes. Viewers also can see photos taken during previous days.

Hospital officials said the photos illustrate daily progress being made on the hospital replacement project.

“The Web cam is a great opportunity to provide the public with a safe and convenient way to watch our progress from anywhere in the state,” said Linda Hammond, OSH replacement project administrator.

“The time lapse really shows the movement forward as we go through the construction phase.”

The Web cameras were installed by Hoffman Construction Co., a Portland firm hired by the state to build the new $280 million psychiatric hospital.

Although the company primarily uses the cameras for security, hospital officials envision them as a way to boost public visibility of the taxpayer-funded project.

“Every day we are working toward building a modern psychiatric hospital and system of care,” hospital Superintendent Roy Orr said. “The improvements we’ve made in patient safety and treatment aren’t always easy for the public to see, but the Web cam does allow them to track the daily progress we are making on the construction of the new building.”

The cameras currently are aimed at a site where prep work is being done for construction of the first wing of the new 620-bed hospital.

Contractors are erecting the walls for what’s known as the Admissions, Behavior and Corrections unit, or ABC.

Scheduled to open late next year, ABC will house as many as 124 patients in three separate programs:

    – Admissions will be the 44-bed entry point for new patients. They will undergo clinical evaluations and get stabilizing treatment, then move on to other areas of the hospital for additional treatment.

    – Behavior will have 60 beds for patients who violate hospital rules or instigate violence. Such patients now are housed on maximum-security wards in the hospital’s 126-year-old J Building.

    – Corrections will consist of a 20-bed unit reserved for mentally ill patients transferred to the hospital from the state prison system. After short-term care, these patients will get back to the prison system.

The ABC unit will include 90,500 square feet of residential space and 80,300 square feet of space for a treatment mall.

The new hospital is being built south of Center Street NE, within the southern portion of the existing hospital campus.

Phased demolition of more than half of the J Building will help clear the way for the new facility.

Plans call for the oldest parts of the J Building to be preserved. The retained portions will be remodeled and incorporated into the new hospital.

The new facility is scheduled to be fully operational by late 2011.

Development of the Salem project comes as the first part of a two-hospital construction package approved by state legislators.

The second hospital, consisting of 360 beds, will be built on state prison land in Junction City. The Lane County facility is scheduled to be completed by late 2013.

Combined costs for the two new hospitals are budgeted at $458 million.