Design firms chosen for new hospital
Design firms have been chosen for the new Morgan County War Memorial Hospital.
Perkins and Will, Inc. of Washington, D.C. will be the architectural firm and Valley Engineering is approved as the civil engineering firm, said Hospital Administrator John Borg.
Valley Engineering's main office is in Virginia, but the work will be handled by their West Virginia office in Moorefield. Some 24 firms responded to their public notice and 11 firms responded to their request for proposal (RFP), Borg said.
The search was narrowed to three firms, each of which made presentations to the Morgan County Commissioners, War Memorial Hospital board members and Valley Health and War Memorial Hospital administration, Borg said.
The firms' presentations were done at an August 22 meeting, said Neil McLaughlin, vice-president of operations for War Memorial Hospital.
The hospital administration recommended to the hospital board that the choice be Perkins and Will, Inc. The selection was made at an August 28 hospital board meeting, said McLaughlin. A contract has not been signed yet, but the design firm is doing work on an hourly basis, he said.
Will remain 24/7 hospital
The new Morgan County War Memorial Hospital will have 25 beds that can be used for acute care, rehabilitation care or skilled care as well as 16 nursing home beds. It will remain a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week critical access hospital with emergency room services.
The estimated cost of building the new hospital is about $25 million, but that number isn't firm. A final cost estimate is expected by mid-October.
Services will remain the same and the size of the hospital will be about the same, but the layout of the hospital will change considerably. Space allocations and department locations will be different, Borg said.
The new layout will solve problems such as the physical therapy patient who can't use the steps and must now enter through the basement, come through the hallway, take an elevator and come halfway around the hospital to reach the physical therapy department, said Borg.
One feature of the new hospital will be more private rooms, at patients' requests.
Any departments that could need expansion, such as radiology or the emergency room, will be located on the outside walls, said McLaughlin. They are trying not to have any services landlocked inside the building so they could be later enlarged if needed, he said.
"We're trying to look as far to the future as possible," he said.
Can't enlarge nursing home
The size of the hospital's nursing home will
be relatively the same since there is a state
moratorium on adding new nursing home beds, he said. Other states have enacted a similar moratorium.
War Memorial Hospital has had requests for more nursing home beds and there is a possibility of adding more in the future, Borg said. At times, the hospital has had 60 to 80 people on the waiting list for the long-term care unit. The nursing home side is always full, said McLaughlin.
The 25-bed swing beds section averages 10 patients a day, said McLaughlin. The average length of stay is about 11 days. The maximum number of beds available depends on patient gender and diagnosis. The present hospital has only two private rooms, which are generally reserved for isolation cases, he said.
A patient's status will generally swing from acute care to skilled care or rehab care after several days, he said. Those patients get a little less nursing and more therapy so they can get their strength back, he said.
The future War Memorial Hospital will be located on Fairview Drive near the Fairview Subdivision about 1.4 miles from the present facility.
The Morgan County Commission approved War Memorial Hospital's purchase of 80.5 acres for a new hospital site in January. Morgan County War Memorial Hospital is a county-owned facility.
Hospital officials secured a loan from Valley Health Systems to buy the property. The loan will be paid back through hospital revenue, according to Borg.
The Morgan County Building Commission holds the deed to the property.
Building new costs less
Hospital officials originally looked at remodeling the aging hospital piece by piece over four years. That scenario would have caused interruptions in services, Borg said.
Building a new hospital would cost $5 to $7 million less than remodeling, said County Commissioner Tommy Swaim, a member of the hospital's board of directors.
Preliminary designs for the new hospital include three phases of construction.
The main hospital facility will be built in the first phase. Two medical office buildings and an assisted care facility will be constructed in the second phase.
Independent care homes for people 55 and older will be added in the third phase of construction.
Possible funding sources for the new Morgan County War Memorial Hospital include federal loans through the Department of Housing & Urban Development and the Department of Agriculture, loans through a consortium of local banks and a Missouri foundation that will loan up to $25 million to critical access hospitals.
Certificate of need
Once the design has been approved and funding secured, the hospital must apply for a certificate of need to receive a state building permit to proceed with construction, according to Borg.
Deadlines for filing for the certificate of need are scheduled every three months. If they aren't ready for the October 18 deadline, they can file in January, said McLaughlin.
A public forum with citizen input will be part of the certificate of need process to show support for the new hospital. The hospital will also ask for letters and phone calls of public support for the project, said McLaughlin.
A town hall meeting about the new hospital will probably be scheduled once the design process is more underway and the certificate of need has been filed, said McLaughlin.