Hospital considers renovation

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After years of study and debate over whether to rebuild or remodel The Memorial Hospital, officials have decided to keep studying their options.

The Memorial Hospital (TMH) Board of Trustees and Moffat County Board of Commissioners met with American Health Facilities Development Limited Liability Company representatives to discuss possible expansion plans for the hospital.

According to TMH Administrator Randy Phelps, the meeting, a follow-up to a September meeting, was set to help find a clear vision of TMH's remodeling or rebuilding options.

Roger Panther, president of American Health Facilities Development, explained how members of his company examined TMH in November 1998, and realized there was more work to be done than anticipated. Then, $8 million had been set as the maximum amount to be spent. Now, in order to complete all projects requested by TMH, that guaranteed maximum price has risen to either $10 million or $12 million.

To remodel the existing building would be $10 million while building a new facility would be $12 million.

"I firmly believe we have to have the ability to expand," TMH trustee Rod Peck said.

Phelps, after finding the price will not exceed $12 million, asked American Health Facilities Development to make the board aware of what comes with that price. A contract will be designed to coincide with the maximum price.

"A community has to have strong health care and the anchor is the hospital," Panther said. "A new facility is going to be better, not just different."

Commissioners are not opposed to the idea but, like TMH trustees, would like to see more information.

American Health Facilities Development will develop a contract for TMH renovations. This contract will be brought before and voted on by TMH Board of Trustees during its next meeting Jan. 23. If the vote is favorable, American Health Facilities Development will return to the drawing board and begin designing more in-depth plans for the future of TMH.

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