All hospital sites still open for consideration

The Memorial Hospital board of trustees wants to assure the public that all sites in Craig are still open for consideration while it continues to evaluate potential sites for construction of a new hospital.

A letter distributed on behalf of the board Wednesday during its monthly meeting outlines the boards objectives and goals in selecting a site to construct the new facility.

The letter states that the board is dedicated to honoring its commitment made last November to the community to develop comparisons between several potentials building sites in and around Craig.

TMH board member Ron Danner, the building committee chairman, said despite recommendations made by the project manager, Hammes Company, to eliminate two sites from consideration, those sites will still be included in further evaluations of all the sites.

"This recommendation has been made in the absence of comparative financial information that would enable the Board to fairly evaluate the total project costs between the sites," the letter states. "For example, the utilization of existing facilities on the current site could have a significant impact on the overall cost of the project."

In a report provided to the hospital by Hammes Company about two weeks ago, the firm recommended that the current hospital location and the Kawcak property across the street from the Public Safety Center be eliminated from consideration for construction of a new hospital.

The project manager identified three "show stoppers" that led to the recommendation not to further pursue the current location including:

  • Zoning issues.
  • The fact that the property is located in a 500-year flood plain.
  • Lack of space for future expansion.

The "show stoppers" for the Kawcak property included:

  • The property's location on a hazardous material transportation route.
  • Fuel storage tanks located to the south of the property.
  • Grain silos located to the north of the property.
  • Potential vibration concerns from a nearby railroad.

But the letter distributed Wednesday stressed that those two locations are still on the table for consideration.

"It is possible that the Board will re-visit those proposals if the costs or other factors eliminate the five sites that are being looked into most carefully at this time," the letter states.

The board has instructed Hammes to develop site comparisons based on total costs and, until that information is available, the board will not eliminate any sites from consideration, according to the letter. The letter also thanked everyone who submitted site proposals to the hospital.

Reference was made to a recent letter to the editor in the Craig Daily Press in which a local resident was upset about not being thanked for the site his family offered to the hospital.

Danner said the intent of the board was to write all property owners letters thanking them for their offers.

But one site, the one addressed in the Craig Daily Press letter to the editor, was overlooked, he said.

"We did follow up with a letter," board member Don Myers said. "The one letter in the paper was

an oversight."

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