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Hospital Radiology Manager Stacy Leibhart works with a pair of Davis Partnership architects last week on the design for the department in the proposed hospital facility. (Johnson Publications photo)

Hospital board dissatisfied with quoted cost for facility

    Hospital board members find themselves in a dilemma.
    They would like to move forward with a new facility. However, they found out last week the guaranteed cost of that facility is both much higher than anticipated and more than they want to ask taxpayers to support.
    Board members John Burke and Bob Mendenhall met with the county commissioners Tuesday morning to discuss the situation.
    Mendenhall asked for a closed session with commissioners. He said releasing the amount could jeopardize efforts to negotiate a lower cost with the current design-build firms or other companies in the future.
    Since such a request for closed session is not provided for under Nebraska’s open meeting statutes, the discussion continued in open session.
    The board members were looking for some kind of direction from the commissioners on how to proceed.
    Several months ago, the commissioners approved up to $1.5 million for the hospital to go forward with design and cost estimating to determine a guaranteed cost.
    Adolfson & Peterson Construction of Aurora, Colorado, and Davis Partnership Architects of Denver (AP/Davis) began the necessary work to develop plans and specifications in order to offer a guaranteed price.
    Thus far, AP/Davis has billed the county slightly more than $886,000 for the work completed to date, which included the guaranteed cost.
    Burke said the national average for hospital construction runs about $400 per square foot. He said their cost came in much higher.
    The guaranteed cost offered by AP/Davis was $24.8 million for the facility with another 20 percent for soft costs (medical equipment, beds, desks, etc.). That brought the final total to $29,764,000.
    During the hospital board’s meeting last week, they met with AP/Davis during a closed session.
    Burke said the board feels AP/Davis priced the project based on rising Colorado costs versus Nebraska costs.

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