RDH to seek support for new construction
But that, too, might be changing.
Built in 1961, the nearly 50-year-old building would be expensive to renovate and bring up to code. That’s why hospital officials are looking into building a new facility.
“We had FCI (Constructors of Grand Junction) come in and do a full evaluation of our facility and what it would cost to renovate versus what it would cost to build new. To bring this building up to code and up to the standard of where health care is today, it’s just shy of $22 million,” said Nick Goshe, the hospital’s chief executive officer. “Then you would still be left with an old building that would be retrofitted. Our building was never designed for the heating and cooling we have. It’s either too hot or too cold. And, everywhere you touch, we have to worry about asbestos abatement. It’s hard to deliver health care while you’re removing asbestos. So we started thinking maybe it makes sense to go for a new facility.”
FCI is the same company that was hired to renovate the Rangely Recreation Center.
In a deal with the Bureau of Land Management, the hospital is looking to purchase 20 acres of land, located across the street from the current facility and west of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building.
“We’ve worked through the process of acquiring it,” Goshe said. “It usually takes anywhere from a year or two to get the land, but they’re telling us by April of next year we’ll know without a doubt that we’ll get it.”
Also next spring, the hospital hopes to have an issue on the ballot asking for voter approval to build a new hospital.
“We want to go back and ask the community in April for a bond to build a new hospital,” Goshe said.
In November 2007, the hospital failed in its efforts to pass a bond initiative to build a new hospital.
“But it didn’t fail by much,” Goshe said.
During a presentation at the September meeting of the Community Networking Group, which meets monthly on the campus of Colorado Northwestern Community College, Goshe will lay out the hospital’s plans for a new hospital.
“We’re not going to have exact numbers yet, but we’ll have a plan of why it makes sense,” Goshe said.
Already, the hospital is moving forward with interviewing architects and builders.
Before deciding to pursue public support for building a new hospital, officials looked into other options.
“We looked at the EEC (Early Education Center, owned by the Rangely School District), but the building was designed to be a school, not a hospital, and we would have had to gut it anyway,” Goshe said. “We also looked at land around the college. In all instances, the land across the street (from the hospital) made the most sense.”
The economy is a concern, Goshe said of the timing to ask voters to support a bond initiative for building a new hospital, but it also has its advantages.
“How (the economy) will affect people’s minds about voting, I don’t know. You’ve got people who have had hours cut, or they’ve lost their jobs,” Goshe said. “But construction costs are at a low and builders and contractors are hungry. And interest rates are at 5 and 6 percent, so it’s a good time from that standpoint. Besides the fact, I really believe we need it.”
Even though a bond election may be eight months off, the hospital will start making its case to the public now.
“We won’t have (design) plans yet, but we’ll have some information at Septemberfest, just, in general, why we need it,” Goshe said. “We’re trying to lay the groundwork, so when we go to the public, we can tell them why we think we need (a new hospital), how much it will cost, and how it will affect you as a taxpayer.”
He also hopes to change public perception about the hospital.
“Since I’ve been in town, I’ve not sensed there’s been a lot of trust in town,” said Goshe, who came to the hospital in January 2008. “We’re wanting to change that. We want to be as transparent as possible. We want to tell the public we’ve heard your concerns and we’re working on it. We want to start putting a community team together, and asking people what kinds of services do they want to see. We want their input. We want to get their buy-in.”