TMH targets October 2009 opening | CraigDailyPress.com

TMH targets October 2009 opening

Financial timeline, construction for new facility established

Joshua Roberts

— Craig and Moffat County voters could see the finished product – a new The Memorial Hospital – of what their additional tax money paid for in about 23 months.

The new hospital, the funds for which voters approved in the November election, has an October 2009 targeted opening date. That’s according to a timeline TMH officials have established for the financial and construction details of the new 84,475-square-foot facility.

“We have an aggressive timeline concurrently completing our financial arrangements and design development and construction, which will provide a new hospital in less than two years,” said George Rohrich, The Memorial Hospital chief executive officer. “This saves us from the tremendous inflationary pressures we are seeing in construction costs and materials. This will save us an estimated millions in costs by moving quickly.”

Earlier this month, voters approved a proposed 3-mill tax package to fund a portion of the $42.6 million new hospital cost. The TMH board has hired Earl Swensson Associates, a Nashville, Tenn., company, to design the new facility, a task that is currently under way.

The new hospital design has a March 2008 completion date.

Construction of the building would begin about five months later, in August, according to the timeline, and be completed roughly 13 months later, in September 2009.

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Shortly after construction wraps up, TMH would spend the next five weeks installing furniture and equipment into the new facility, and relocating operations from the current Russell Street building to the new hospital, the timeline indicates.

There will be no disruption of services between moving from the old location to the new, Rohrich said.

A moving specialist will complete the relocation in phases to avoid even a brief hospital shut down, the CEO said.

At its meeting Wednesday, the TMH board approved a resolution required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development regarding the new hospital project.

The resolution is essentially a basic description of the project including its size, scope, cost and also outlines the hospital’s intent to seek mortgage insurance through HUD.

The hospital is requesting HUD act as a loan co-signer, or an agency that will guarantee repayment of project financing.

The board also approved Wednesday a resolution designating TMH as an enterprise, another HUD requirement.

A final application to HUD will be submitted in April 2008 with a response possibly coming three months later, in July.

HUD’s consideration will play a major role in the project moving forward, Rohrich said.

“The thing we are watching most closely is the financing timelines in our application process through HUD,” he said. “We have little control over their process, and this is the one area where we could experience a delay in the program.”

Infrastructure work at the hospital site, 15 acres in west Craig, has a mid-December estimated finish date.

In other action

The hospital board:

• Conducted a 30-minute executive session to discuss contractual negotiations and personnel matters. No decisions were made.

• Approved, 6-0, medical staff privileges for a certified physician assistant Tracey Ketcham.

• Approved, 6-0, a list of recruitment priorities, including an employment option at TMH for high-priority candidates. The list ranks obstetrics and primary care physicians as the highest recruitment priority.

• Approved, 6-0, 2008 operating and capital budgets.

• Approved, 6-0, a five-year capital lease for infusion pumps for $45,660 per year.

• Approved, 6-0, a temporary moratorium on the granting of certain medical staff privileges.