Local healthcare district officials have put one proposed contract to expand the Del Norte Wellness Center on hold while they are considering a proposal from another firm.

The Del Norte Healthcare District received a proposal from Sacramento-based Pressey & Associates to conduct a feasibility and conceptual design for a new specialty clinic and dental clinic at the wellness center. The feasibility and conceptual design would also include pad and hookups for a mobile MRI unit, according to the proposal.

At a total cost of $23,800 the proposal from Pressey & Associates is significantly less than a proposed $73,000 contract the Healthcare District was considering with Vanir Construction Management Inc. Healthcare District Board president Dr. Greg Duncan said Wednesday that he and his colleagues wanted the Pressey & Associates study to include the addition of an outpatient surgical center, which would make the Pressey & Associates proposal similar to Vanir’s.

“Based on the remainder of the Pressey proposal I still think it will come in far below the Vanir proposal,” Duncan said.

In November, Jim Aboytes, lead planner for Vanir Construction Management Inc., gave the healthcare district board an idea of what an expanded wellness center could look like. This included adding a 1,700 square-foot second floor to the existing building and a 6,800 square-foot single story addition immediately adjacent.

Aboytes’ site utilization study also included two additional buildings, both single story, one 10,380 square-feet and the other 22,000 square feet. It also included an exercise path, a garden with a 7,500 square-foot planting area and a 4,800 square-foot playground.

According to the proposal from Pressey & Associates, the firm’s site design and layout would conform with the Healthcare District’s original master plan concept. The firm would present two options for a specialty clinic and dental clinic. The first option would be an addition to the existing building similar to its original conceptual design before it was scaled back. The second design calls for a second building to house the specialty and dental clinics, according to the proposal.

“We will also look at the total site design to determine what the best location will be for the community garden and determine if it is best to stay where it is or to relocate it,” the proposal states. “We will also locate the mobile pad and hook ups for the mobile MRI unit.”

According to the proposal, Pressey & Associates would work with city staff to determine utility costs for both options and to determine how much of the original structure would be affected by the expansion.

Cheyenne Spetzler, chief of operations for Open Door Community Health Centers, said the healthcare provider has worked with Pressey & Associates principal architect, Kevin Pressey, on a variety of projects including construction of Open Door facilities in Eureka and Arcata.

Pressey was one of the architects Aboytes contracted with to build the Del Norte Wellness Center, Spetzler said. She said Open Door is looking into building a new facility in Arcata and is working with Pressey & Associates.

“I have confidence in them,” she said. “Both people you’re considering are highly qualified.”

HCD Director Dwayne Reichlin, who’s been working with his colleague, Terry McNamara, on the proposed Vanir contract, said he was impressed with Pressey’s proposal.

“He’s coming in with a substantially lower price and he’s leaving us with the option of bailing out if we want to bail out also,” Reichlin said.

Duncan said Pressey will be looking at the original blueprints for the Del Norte Wellness Center as part of any potential feasibility study he does.

The proposal from Pressey & Associates will come back before the Healthcare District board at a future meeting.

Reach Jessica Cejnar at jcejnar@triplicate.com .