Cascade Valley Hospital officials say now is the time to begin discussing expansion of the medical facility in Arlington. The hospital's board members...

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Cascade Valley Hospital officials say now is the time to begin discussing expansion of the medical facility in Arlington.

The hospital’s board members say they’ve run out of space for services and are considering how to handle more patients. They recently talked of hiring a space planner to assess the hospital.

Outpatients at Cascade nearly doubled, to 63,693, from 2001 to 2004. Emergency-room visits also are growing rapidly, said Clark Jones, the hospital’s administrator.

The hospital, which has 48 beds and 361 employees, uses a building constructed in 1987 for most patient services and a building from the 1950s for support services. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) service was added recently.

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Once space determinations were completed, the hospital would undertake an analysis to estimate the cost of an expansion. To pay for the project, the hospital would need voters to approve a bond issue.

“We’d need to see if the costs to taxpayers are realistic,” Jones said. “If not, then we’d need to reassess space needs until we find something that is reasonable.”

Architectural drawings and planning would be completed next, and then the hospital would begin an informational campaign with voters. Jones said it could be at least two years before voters were asked to approve hospital bonds.

“Plans are just in the talkative stage now,” he said. “We don’t have any finalized plan to do an expansion.”

Cascade Valley Hospital was started in 1909 and has been at its present location, 330 S. Stillaguamish Ave., since 1958. Since then, the hospital has undergone two renovations, the latest in 1987.

Christopher Schwarzen: 425-783-0577 or cschwarzen@seattletimes.com