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Hospital Board Gives Go-Ahead on Modernization Plan at Historic meeting

July 29th, 2009 by

011-2Two representatives with Murray and Company provided preliminary sketches of the phase modernization plan. The Board voted to begin work on Phase I, the allied health building, shown in red in the photo.

The Drew Memorial Hospital Board voted to move ahead with the first phase of the master site plan to modernize the hospital during its regular meeting Wednesday, July 22. Murray and Company will draw up the plans for the new allied health building.

The master site plan consists of six phases, which include new construction, renovations and remodeling to modernize the hospital’s facilities. The Board voted to approach the phase modernization project by starting with Phase I, construction of the allied health building.

The Board also approved entering into an at-risk contract with Murray and Company, which will allow the company to draw up specific plans and set a price. The at-risk contract will guarantee costs will not exceed the set price, but can go lower.

Murray and Company is a design and construction management firm that specializes in rural healthcare. The Missouri-based company focuses on critical access and regional hospitals. Drew Memorial will use local contractors for the construction of the allied health building.

According to Layfield, the first phase will total around $5.3 million. The figure includes a $158,000 fee for Murray and Company to draw up the plans; construction of the building, parking areas and road entries; and $300,000 for equipment, furniture and fixtures.

The current plans for the allied health building allow room for future expansion. The building will initially be one-story and 25,000 square feet (91 by 266). However, construction will allow the building to be expanded to two stories in the future. The current plans also allow extra space for future developments and expansion.

Layfield said the possibilities for the building include an education department and conference rooms to teach employees and the public. As well, the extra space in the building could provide room for a cancer treatment center, which Layfield said is a large need in the area. The building could also house the Wound Care service if it expands.

According to Layfield, there is a physician shortage around the nation, and an inability for small communities to effectively recruit new physicians. He said the allied health building will attract new physicians and stimulate the economy by attracting new business.

New board member Carl Lucky asked if the allied health building could cause conflicts with the new medical office building for the physicians. Layfield said possible conflicts could arise because the care provided by both facilities is similar.

However, Layfield said the resolution approved in the Drew County Quorum Court session Monday, July 20 includes a restrictive covenant. The covenant will help prevent competition between the medical office and the hospital.

Layfield said the hospital has kept communication open with the physicians on these projects. He said, though they do not always agree, they are working closer together to accomplish projects to benefit the community.

Lucky commended the Board on choosing Murray and Company and on the work they have done on the project. “I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen, because clearly a lot of thought has gone into this project,” Lucky said.

The Board also voted to pursue work with Crews and Associates to find the best financing option for the project. The hospital’s Finance Committee met with Paul Phillips of Crews and Associates to discuss possible financing options for the allied health building. The hospital worked with the company on other projects in 2002 and 2004.

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