Lunch, groundbreaking Sunday for Community Hospital project

Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Community Hospital employees map out the footprint of the new patient wing, Phase 1 of the hospital construction project which begins next week. The public is invited to the groundbreaking on Sunday with lunch from 12-12:45 p.m. and the ceremony beginning at 1 p.m. Senator Ben Nelson is the guest speaker. (Courtesy photo)

The public is invited to a lunch and groundbreaking ceremony at Community Hospital on Sunday, September 27 on the hospital front lawn. Lunch is from 12 -- 12:45 p.m. The groundbreaking ceremony, which features McCook native and U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson as the main speaker, begins at 1 p.m.

"We hope the community will come and celebrate the completion of our planning, and anticipate with us the beginning of the construction phase of our new patient wing, surgery wing and dedicated outpatient space," said Jim Ulrich, Community Hospital President & CEO.

"Through this project, we are investing in both the economic future and future healthcare of our community and the region," Ulrich said. "The construction will certainly be a boost to economic development activities and the product of a new patient wing, new surgery wing and dedicated outpatient space will go a long way toward furthering our ability to care for the patients in need of quality healthcare services for years to come."

The ceremonial groundbreaking begins a hospital construction project which will expand the facility to 98,000 square feet. Phase 1 is a 14-month project constructing a new 25-bed acute patient wing housing five nursing support areas, two labor-delivery-recovery rooms, a waiting area and nursery on the west side of Community Hospital, and two isolation/hospice respite rooms and a healing garden on the southern end.

Following a two-month transition to demolish the patient pods and build a connector from the current hospital to the new patient wing, Phase 2, an additional 14-month project, begins. This phase consists of 26,000 square feet of new space. It includes construction of a new surgery wing as well as outpatient spaces for observation rooms and patients receiving pain medications and chemotherapy. It also includes a new pharmacy area and a large community and staff meeting room for wellness programs such as diabetic education and 55PLUS.

The total project cost of approximately $30 million is being financed by several funding sources including $17 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to Community Hospital as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Jim Ulrich, President and CEO of Community Hospital Association, said the $17 million low interest loan is more than half the total cost of the entire project which will replace the 35-year-old patient pods and add a new surgery wing.

Several Nebraska community banks are also lending $15 million to Community Hospital for the project. The independent community banks are represented by Thayer County Bank and include:

West Gate Bank-Lincoln, Bank of Lewellen, Pathway Bank-Cairo, McCook National Bank, Plattsmouth State Bank, State Bank of Bartley, Bruning State Bank, First Central Bank of McCook, Farmers State Bank of Wallace, Home State Bank-Louisville, American National Bank of Sidney, AmFirst-McCook, Farmers State Bank-Maywood, Bankers' Bank of the West-Lincoln and Thayer County Bank-Hebron. The loan is being guaranteed by the USDA Rural Development.

In case of inclement weather, the meal and ceremony will be held in Community Hospital's Rehabilitation Center.

More pictures and architectural drawings are available at under Construction News.

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