At (approximately) 11:17 a.m. November 17, 2012 at 1117 Spring Street Lenore Bayuk and Charlie Anderson cut a bright red ribbon signalling the beginning of a new era of health care in San Juan County.
After a round of speeches by PeaceHealth and the local hospital steering committee members, hundreds of islanders toured PeaceHealth Peace Island Medical Center, the new facility which replaces Inter Island medical center.
The architects brought a strong commitment to creating a medical center appropriate to the community. Together with the local steering committee, they worked hard to assure that all aspects of the building are truly island in nature.
Wood from trees removed because they were directly on the site of the building was used inside for details including framing for the large windows and locally-crafted timber for counters and stairs.
More than eight and a half miles of island cedar was used for the building siding. Slabs of treasured island maple decorate the entries to the facility. A large lobby coffee table and supports for sculptures are created from wood collected, conserved, and finished by local artisans.
Landscaping offers a harmonious link between the building and the natural environment of the site. Aspen groves, garry oaks, maples, cedars, salal, and ferns create a setting of quiet, familiar beauty. A small orchard honors the agricultural heritage of the property.
A diverse sampling of art adds to the warmth and welcoming feel of the facility interior. Over 90% of the collection in a wide variety of media is the work of island artists, and all of the art is from the immediate Pacific Northwest area. Many of the major works have been underwritten by local donors.
The Trapeze glass and metal sculpture created by 83-year-old artist David Bennett has the most amazing back story, best told by Charlie Anderson. From seeing a piece of his artwork in Cleveland without being able to find the name of the artist to several steps ending a year later with a cold call to Arizona. Artist David Bennett, who had retired 10 years earlier, agreed to create the work when he heard it was to be for the cancer treatment room. His mother had died of cancer when he was seven years-old .
During their initial conversation, Anderson started to explain where the islands were. Bennett stopped him, saying he has a boat moored in Friday Harbor. Then he said, someone wants to talk to you. Bennett's dinner guest happened to be a member of the board who had no idea of Charlie and Pam Anderson's search for the artist.
In a sun-filled gallery connecting the clinic and diagnostic areas with the Emergency Department, San Juan Island artist Annie Howell-Adams has created a multi-panel mural depicting the history of local healthcare from 19th century doctors moving about the island with horse and buggy and early 20th century local nurses training at St. Joseph's Hospital in Bellingham to air ambulance service and modern medical practice.