The Tykeson Family Foundation has pledged to contribute $1 million toward a new patient tower at St. Charles Bend if the hospital’s foundation can raise $4 million by April 30.

“St. Charles has been a tremendous community asset for more than 100 years,” said Amy Tykeson, former president and CEO of BendBroadband and managing trustee of the Tykeson Family Foundation. “We hope our cap challenge grant will be a call to others to contribute to the tower fundraising campaign so that we can continue to expand access to critical care services.”

The $66 million tower project will include a 24-bed intensive care unit and a 28-bed progressive care unit, which would serve as an intermediary step between the ICU and a standard hospital room. The tower will also contain some 20,000 square feet of unfinished space available for future development.

The project will add 300 parking spaces to accommodate the growing number of people visiting the hospital, as well as a second water line to build redundancy into the hospital’s water supply.

The new tower could see its first patients in May.

The Bend hospital has been struggling with an increased patient load, with nine out of 10 inpatient beds occupied most days. Hospital officials said capacity issues forced the ICU to transfer nearly 100 patients to other facilities for care in 2018.

The new development is expected to alleviate bottlenecks through the hospital.

Joe Sluka, president and CEO of the St. Charles Health System, said the ICU was built in 1990s and is outdated, with rooms 44 percent smaller than what is currently recommended.

“It’s abundantly clear to us just how much we need the new patient tower. Thanks to the incredible generosity of the Tykeson Family Foundation and our other donors, this project is going to be a reality,” he said. “We are asking the community to join with us and continue the legacy of giving.”

Tykeson’s father, Don Tykeson, bought Bend Cable in 1983 after selling his Eugene-based company, Liberty Communications, for $186 million. Bend Cable became BendBroadband, which the Tykesons sold in 2014 to Telephone and Data Systems for $261 million. Don Tykeson died in 2017. The philanthropic foundation has supported a number of academic and health care causes over the years, including donations to Oregon State University-Cascades, the University of Oregon and Oregon Health & Science University.

— Reporter: 541-633-2162, mhawryluk@bendbulletin.com

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