Hospital info meeting a good place to start
Nearly 100 people attended an informational meeting last week to learn more about the initial plans to replace the existing facility with an entirely new one.
In addition to present administration and staff members, representatives from the architectural and design firm were present to show an early preview of the design.
Administrator Steve Lewis noted the board does not yet know what the projected cost will be to build a new facility. Hopefully, that work will be completed in the next several weeks.
The board approved investing $1.5 million to complete a full design and cost estimate so when voters go to the polls in November they will know exactly what they are going to get, and for how much.
One of the recurring questions about a new hospital centers on whether our existing facility can be remodeled or added on to.
After following this process closely for the last four to five years, that’s been thoroughly investigated by the board. They had a study completed by one of the companies that bid on the proposed project.
The cost to remodel was $2 million more than building an entirely new facility. Granted, for a new facility we’re still looking in the $20 million+ range.
Another question posed last week was whether the board considered saving the existing clinic and building to north. I can attest that this was explored as well.
Plus, let’s face it—the “new” clinic building is already 15 years old.
A member of the maintenance staff said it’s getting harder to maintain the existing 40-year old hospital now.
One of the more pressing issues comes by way of the state fire marshal’s office. The facility needs to have a sprinkler system for fire suppression. Since we have been in the planning stages for the last several years, they haven’t pushed it. But sooner or later, we’re going to have to install a sprinkler system in the existing hospital if we keep operating it.
Here’s another instance of just how difficult maintenance has become in the existing facility. If a toilet in a room needs to be replaced, water for the entire building has to be shut off. Not real practical—wouldn’t you agree?
We’re still in the learning phase of how much a new facility will cost. Hats off to the board and administration for taking a bold step to address the issue.
Stay tuned. As more information becomes available, you can count on seeing it in The Imperial Republican and The Wauneta Breeze.