Land purchased for new hospital
The land purchase for the future Morgan County War Memorial Hospital is now complete. The property closing took place on Monday, February 26. Morgan County War Memorial Hospital is a county-owned facility.
The Morgan County Commission purchased the Edmonds/Christaldi land on Fairview Drive at a total cost of $1,458,600. Since the County Commission can't technically own land, the deed will be transferred to the Morgan County Building Commission within 30 days, said hospital administrator John Borg.
Valley Health Systems lent Morgan County War Memorial Hospital the money to purchase the land, said Borg. Hospital revenues will pay back the loan, he noted.
Now that the property closing is over, hospital officials will work on the building design, the financing of the project and the required Certificate of Need. Borg hopes to submit the Certificate of Need by the fourth quarter of this year.
They will be selecting a contractor at the March 22 hospital board meeting, said Borg. The three companies that are bidding for the work are Hospital Building and Equipment Corporation, Turner Construction and Wellness Environments of Nashville. Turner Construction is the largest health care facility construction company in the United States, said Borg.
They interviewed only companies that were experienced in building critical access hospitals like War Memorial Hospital, he said. There are 1500 critical access hospitals across the country that are the same age as our hospital that need to be rebuilt, noted Borg. Costs could be somewhat reduced if companies can duplicate designs or features that that can be individualized for each hospital, said Borg.
They have drawings that are about 75% completed of a prototype critical access hospital that will be adapted for the Morgan County War Memorial Hospital design. Hospital officials have seen two modern critical access hospitals and were scheduled to visit two more in Minnesota.
The future hospital's design is a 25-bed critical access hospital. The design will be expandable in case the area population would increase to 50,000 people and a 50-bed hospital was needed, said Borg.
Some contractors have their own architect that would work with them on design, said Borg. Staff input on design is still pending and will be done by each department, he said. A public meeting on the hospital design will be scheduled at a later date.
The Morgan County War Memorial Hospital website will soon be set up so comments and suggestions on hospital features and design can be submitted by the public. Residents can also call Borg at 258-1234 or send him a letter expressing their ideas or concerns.
Borg will make presentations before local organizations and at small town meetings and community gatherings. Newspaper articles and radio spots will also help keep people informed about hospital developments, said Borg.
Being a good neighbor
Morgan County War Memorial Hospital wants to be a good neighbor to residents along Fairview Drive, he said. They will have a wide buffer zone of more than 50 acres, visual buffers and black lighting that doesn't shine in your face, said Borg.
Realtors have told them that the presence of a modern hospital in the neighborhood will improve land values, he said. This could be an economic engine to help stimulate more business growth, said Borg. Many people that come to the area are glad to know that there is a hospital here, he added.
Hospital officials expect to talk with U.S. Silica officials in the future about having an access road to the new hospital from U.S. Route 522. A $500,000 access road grant that was acquired by Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito could be used for infrastructure as well as turn signals and a lane, said Borg.