The road leading to a new Craig hospital is long, windy and rocky.
On Thursday morning, of--ficials from The Memorial Hos----pital and Colorado North----west--ern Com--------munity Col----l----ege made the off-road trek to 15 acres of remote college land west of Shadow Mountain Village to sign an agreement that dedicates the ground to the hospital.
The land, currently vacant, is the prospective site for a new facility.
A few officials from the college and hospital brimmed with excitement about the new deal.
"It's huge for us," said Gene Bilodeau, dean of the CNCC Craig campus. "It's going to be a monumental thing for the community and the region."
CNCC President John Boyd echoed his sentiments. "It is a great day for the hospital and for the college, but it's an even better day for the community."
He added that shared efforts by the hospital and CNCC to bring a new health care facility to Craig will "better serve the community and help the economic engine of Moffat County."
The hospital board of trustees unanimously approved the agreement Wednesday. It states that the hospital and college governing bodies think a partnership to develop a new hospital is "in the best interests of their respective constituencies."
It calls for CNCC to contribute $1 million to the project. CNCC agreed to pay $750,000 toward the construction of infrastructure -- streets and utilities -- at the site. The college also will pledge $250,000 to the cost of any classroom or training facility within the hospital.
The hospital and CNCC also agreed to the following provisions:
- That, when designing future facilities on the college site, they will include shared facilities for health care education.
- To cooperate in applying for grants.
- To sell available property at the college site to TMH at fair market value or give the hospital the right to match any offer to buy college property.
Design plans and cost estimates for the proposed hospital still are being developed.
Ron Danner, chairman of the hospital building committee, said infrastructure surrounding the new building could cost about $3 million. The price tag for the hospital building is dependent on scope and size, he said.
A master plan for a new hospital building, completed five years ago, is antiquated, Danner said. That plan called for a 53,000-square-foot building.
He said hospital employees will have a say in the design.
"All departments will have a chance to provide a wish list," Danner said.
Hospital board member Melton Sullivan signed the deal Thursday with Kandy Kropinak, chairwoman of the Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District board of control.
Sullivan said the community will benefit from the hospital-college collaboration.
"I'm continually impressed by the college's desire and sincere wish to participate in the community," Sullivan said. "We really appreciate what you've done.
"It's going to take our community forward."