Structural steel work begins on new hospital | CraigDailyPress.com

Structural steel work begins on new hospital

Jennifer L. Grubbs

In other action

The Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees

The board met Tuesday night and:

• Approved the consent agenda, which included seven sets of meeting minutes and a financial report.

• Approved reappointment of Dr. Allan Reishus (emergency medicine) and Dr. Robert Collins (pathology) to active status.

• Approved appointment of Dr. William Zinn (radiology) to provision staff status.

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• Approved a plan for a seasonal compensation for employees of $50 to $250, based on status and number of years of employment. What TMH Chief Executive Officer George Rohrich called a holiday “bonus” will be given out in mid-December. Board members expressed a wish for larger amounts, but Rohrich said fiscal restraint needed to be exercised during construction and a “hard economy.”

• Heard a report from Rohrich, which included an announcement of the hiring of a new family practitioner, Dr. Andy Hughes, who will start at TMH in February.

• Heard the financial report, which included notice of an operation loss in October, due in part to bad debt, charity, employee benefits costs and three pay periods. Rohrich, who gave the report for Chief Financial Officer Barry Bergman, who was on vacation, also spoke about expenses, including failure of equipment in one of two RF control rooms, which required immediate repair, and the planting of willow trees in the wetland area near the new hospital.

• Received notice that the final 2009 budget will be voted on next month.

• Heard a report from Chief Quality Officer Beka Warren, which included results of a state level test of reporting systems in the case of a pandemic flu. TMH systems crashed but have since been updated, Warren said.

• Heard a report on safety at the hospital.

The Memorial Hospital’s new building is going vertical.

At least, that’s how TMH Chief Executive Officer George Rohrich described the start of structural steel construction at the building site, located on Moffat County Road 7, north of Craig.

“It’s just a visual validation of the new hospital coming and taking shape,” he said. “Before, everything was underground. Now, people can actually see something, almost touch something.”

Contractor Robins & Morton began structural steel work Tuesday, moving the project beyond dirt, piers and underground plumbing.

Rohrich shared his excitement for the new stage of the project Tuesday night at the hospital’s board meeting.

“It’s just going to continue to get bigger and higher,” he said.

Right now, the construction crew, which includes eight local residents working full-time, is putting up steel columns, each weighing nearly 1,000 pounds, according to Rob Kerns, superintendent for Robins & Morton

Kerns said the steel beams will “really start swinging” come Monday.

“In nine weeks, we’ll be erected,” Kerns said, of all of the structural steel – six truckloads’ worth – and roof decking on the building.”

Rohrich told the board that the project still was on schedule for the building to be enclosed in January. The weather has been good for the construction crew, Kerns said. He added that plenty of allowances were made in the schedule for inclement weather, and construction will plow ahead – no matter what.

Kerns said the people of Craig, including hospital staff and city employees, such as Dave Costa, Craig community development director, have welcomed and helped the contractor.

“We build a lot of hospitals all around the country,” Kerns said, adding that his last project was in Dallas, where there are many hospitals, making the new one seem less important to people. “It’s always a lot more fun in a place like Craig, where there’s so much community involvement.”

And community involvement, in the form of a passed bond issue, is what Rohrich has said helped in getting the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s $40 million loan guarantee. With the country’s current credit crunch, he told the hospital board Tuesday night, the federal loan guarantee for the project likely came at the “last possible minute.”

But the funding was secured, and Rohrich said he was “uplifted and excited” by the progress.

Kerns said he is happy just to be a part of making the new hospital a reality.

“You guys get the long-lasting effects, but we get to be a part of it.”

In other action

The Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees

The board met Tuesday night and:

• Approved the consent agenda, which included seven sets of meeting minutes and a financial report.

• Approved reappointment of Dr. Allan Reishus (emergency medicine) and Dr. Robert Collins (pathology) to active status.

• Approved appointment of Dr. William Zinn (radiology) to provision staff status.

• Approved a plan for a seasonal compensation for employees of $50 to $250, based on status and number of years of employment. What TMH Chief Executive Officer George Rohrich called a holiday “bonus” will be given out in mid-December. Board members expressed a wish for larger amounts, but Rohrich said fiscal restraint needed to be exercised during construction and a “hard economy.”

• Heard a report from Rohrich, which included an announcement of the hiring of a new family practitioner, Dr. Andy Hughes, who will start at TMH in February.

• Heard the financial report, which included notice of an operation loss in October, due in part to bad debt, charity, employee benefits costs and three pay periods. Rohrich, who gave the report for Chief Financial Officer Barry Bergman, who was on vacation, also spoke about expenses, including failure of equipment in one of two RF control rooms, which required immediate repair, and the planting of willow trees in the wetland area near the new hospital.

• Received notice that the final 2009 budget will be voted on next month.

• Heard a report from Chief Quality Officer Beka Warren, which included results of a state level test of reporting systems in the case of a pandemic flu. TMH systems crashed but have since been updated, Warren said.

• Heard a report on safety at the hospital.