Tuesday, September 19, 2006
The latest estimates indicate that the proposed new facility for The Memorial Hospital in Craig will feature state-of-the-art equipment, 16 private rooms and 52,600 square feet of space.
The price tag: $25 million.
There's only one problem with the estimates - formed by a committee five years ago - hospital officials are unsure whether they're realistic today.
"Things have changed," TMH Chief Executive Officer George Rohrich said. "The expectations have changed, and technology has changed."
Rohrich, like Ron Danner, chairman of the hospital building committee, said the hospital isn't sure about the existing estimates for the scope and size of the new facility, which will be on 15 acres of remote land west of Shadow Mountain Village.
Finances will dictate what the hospital can afford to build.
"I'd love to start immediately," he said. "It takes time. I estimate we'll need to be able to afford $100,000 to $150,000 (payments per month)."
"There's no sense in going to the drawing board," Danner said, "unless we know we can fund it."
TMH is in the midst of searching for a company to help it determine what kind of new facility it can afford. During a board meeting in August, the board of trustees authorized Rohrich to begin considering proposals from firms interested in performing a financial analysis of the hospital. The analysis will determine the hospital's ability and strategy for financing a new facility.
The board also authorized Rohrich to enter into an agreement with the firm best suited to complete the work. The analysis has a deadline of November, which means TMH could begin developing size and scope plans for the new facility in December.
The hospital, in cooperation with engineers from Westminster-based Diversified Consultant Solutions, is working toward developing an infrastructure plan for the new hospital site. Work on the building design will begin after a preliminary plat for the infrastructure is submitted and approved by the city.
If all goes well, construction on the infrastructure would begin this spring.
Hospital officials are banking that hospital finances, which have shown signs of resurgence in recent months, will show prospective financers a consistent bottom line by the time the infrastructure plans are set.
As of now, the cost for infrastructure could range from $2 million to $3 million, Danner said.
Although hospital officials aren't convinced of the existing size and scope estimates, they said there is some validity to them. For instance, a look at the estimates reveal that if the new facility is built at 52,600 square feet, it would be smaller than the existing hospital, which measures about 70,000 square feet.
Danner said the difference lies in the design.
"The new facility will likely be smaller, but much more efficient," he said.
The current hospital, Danner said, is outdated and lacks efficiency for clinical and administrative uses.
Rohrich said the process of bringing a new hospital to Craig may seem painstakingly slow but that patience and diligence is required in providing the area with a new, top-notch health care facility.
"I haven't built a hospital before," Rohrich said. "I've only renovated hospitals. It is astonishing to me how big the numbers get. But, that's the reality of where we're at today.
"We've got to do this right. If we make a wrong assessment, we'll be stuck with it."