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SPOKANE, WA-More than $60-million worth of expansion is taking place at hospitals and major medical facilities in Spokane and nearby Coeur d’ Alene, ID. So far this year in Spokane, Empire Health Services has broken ground on a $20-million expansion of its Valley Hospital & Medical Center and an $18-million expansion of its Deaconess Health & Education. Now, in nearby Coeur d’ Alene the Kootenai Medical Center is nearing a decision to put $24 million into its own expansion.

About the area’s medical boon, Tom Skierka, a spokesman for Empire Health tells GlobeS.com that, for one, the nature of the area is attracting a lot of medical talent. “It’s a great place to live. When doctors get out of medical school, they think about where they want to live,” says Skierka, adding, “Spokane’s a great place to raise a family. It’s got the four seasons, affordable housing and many other things to offer.”

Added to that, Skierka says the medical community is striving to create (for its size) a leading US medical community. “People think they have to go somewhere else, like Seattle, to get the best medical attention. But here we provide everything from major heart surgery to cancer care,” he says.

Affiliates of Spokane-based Empire Health Services, a not-for-profit multi-service health care system, include Deaconess Medical Center, St. Lukes Extended Care Center and Valley Hospital & Medical Center.

Earlier this year Empire Health set to its $18-million expansion of its Deaconess Health & Education Center at 910 W. Fifth. The six-story building now provides 128,000 sf of medical offices for private and Empire Health physicians. The project is adding 88,000 sf in four new floors.

Empire Health is also spending $20 million on Valley Hospital & Medical Center at 12606 E. Mission for a 33,000 sf expansion. While Skierka was unable to pinpoint a completion date, he said construction was in the early phases of building out infrastructure, such as roads.

Less than an hour away in Coeur d’ Alene, the Kootenai Medical Center is reported to be considering a $24-million expansion of its facility. Preliminary plans (that could run a few more years before finalizing) include the addition of approximately 87,000 sf of floor space and a 400-stall parking garage. News reports state that short-term plans include the addition of a fourth floor (about 36,000 sf)and two 7,000-sf administration and lab wings. Also on the drawing board is the expansion of its emergency room department by 12,000 sf. In the long run, the hospital expects it could add another 87,000 sf and a 400-stall parking garage. GlobeSt.com was unable to reach a Kootenai spokesperson by deadline to comment

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