Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning unit went into full operation yesterday, a multi-million dollar project that would lower the hospital’s utility bills and would give a more comfortable environment to patients and employees alike.
CHCC held a ribbon-cutting ceremony of the HVAC Tuesday that was attended by Lt. Gov. Victor B. Hocog, CNMI Capital Improvement Projects grants manager of the U.S. Department of the Interior Keith Aughenbaugh, CIP administrator Virginia Villagomez, CHCC chief executive officer Esther L. Muna, Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, CHCC officials and employees, and other government personnel.
CHCC’s new HVAC unit replaced the hospital’s decades-old equipment and it is expected to lessen the hospital’s utility bills by 30 percent.
CIP project manager Elizabeth Balajadia said the HVAC project began with an assessment of the facility in March 2013 with an initial cost of $3.8 million. Construction for the project started in May 2014 and finished last July 22 with the final cost of $4.3M.
“It was a challenging project for the only hospital in the CNMI. It is now working at full capacity. The noise level is also lessened,” said Balajadia.
Muna added the completion of the project is significant for the people of the CNMI and it marks the beginning of the hospital’s modernization and improvement.
“It is a project close to four years in the making. We deemed it necessary that the hospital needs upgrading and an energy efficient ventilation system. We have worked for this project on a few years and now here it is,” said Muna.
She added that the people of the CNMI are thankful for the assistance given by the Department of the Interior especially Office of Insular Areas Assistant Secretary Esther Kia’aina.
Villagomez said the Governor’s Office’s top priority is to make sure critical infrastructure, like the hospital, in the CNMI are well attended to. “It will have a huge impact to the community if something happens.”
Hocog said the savings that the CHCC would get with the new HVAC system could now be used for other improvements and healthcare.