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RANGELY I Nick Goshe is hoping a new hospital will be just what the doctor ordered.
Goshe, chief executive officer of Rangely District Hospital, said a series of public meetings will be held between now and April to provide voters with information in the hopes they will support a May 4 bond election to build a new hospital.
Hospital officials will make their case for a new facility at a couple of town hall-style meetings next week: 3 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13 and 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 14. Both meetings will be held in the hospital board room. Additional meetings will be scheduled for February, March and April, leading up to the May mail-in election.
“I feel like we’re doing everything we need to do to get the best information to the public, and we’re doing it at the right time,” Goshe said.
The “right timing” includes low financial interest rates and lower-priced construction materials.
“The thing that worries me is we’re in a recession, but all the factors point to right now is the best time to do it,” Goshe said. “Interest rates are at 30-year lows and labor and supplies are at three- to five-year lows. That will save millions on the life of the project, plus the fact we really need it.”
The hospital — prior to Goshe’s time as CEO — put a bond initiative to Rangely voters in 2007, but it failed. Goshe, who officially took over as CEO in June after serving a six-month apprenticeship under interim CEO Merrill Frank, is hoping for a different outcome this time around.
“We’re hoping to have all of our ducks in a row,” Goshe said. “We have a full team put together, and they’ve been participating in drawing up the plans. We’ve been meeting once a month for five months now, putting these plans together that we’re going to present to the community.”
No price tag has been put on the project yet — until plans are finalized — but Goshe expects to have a number soon.
“I don’t know if we’ll have the final costs for the January meetings, but for February’s meetings we will for sure,” he said.
Goshe said the hospital’s current nearly 50-year-old facility — built in 1961 — is outdated for today’s health care and would cost too much to renovate and, even if it was remodeled, still would not allow for expansion.
The cost to renovate the existing facility and bring it up to code was estimated at $22 million.
“That was just the renovation,” Goshe said. “That didn’t take into account the financing charges, the equipment upgrades, the design costs … that would leave you with the same building.”
Goshe said the hospital’s current facility wasn’t designed for today’s technology.
“A lot of the equipment that exists today wasn’t around when this hospital was built 40 some years ago,” he said. “When our hospital was designed, it wasn’t designed for this kind of health care we have now. A lot has changed in 40 years.”
The hospital is in the process of finalizing a lease-purchase agreement with the Bureau of Land Management for a 20-acre site across the street from the current location and west of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building. The agreement for the BLM land is expected to be completed in April.
“It’s essentially 20 acres versus 12 acres (the amount of land the hospital currently has),” Goshe said. “With the new property, we could expand in several directions, if the town grows. We would build the new hospital with the idea that we can expand, if the need arises. Right now, we can’t expand at all.
“We’ll keep (the land) we have now,” Goshe continued. “We’ll demolish the hospital. What we’ll do with the land is up in the air. We’ll certainly entertain ideas from the community. We’ll keep the (Eagle Crest) assisted living facility. That will stay where it’s at, and we have a couple of houses the hospital owns that will stay.”
If the hospital’s plan is approved by voters, the construction project would take a little more than a year to complete.
“From the time we break ground, the plan is about 14 months,” Goshe said. “We’d break ground in the fall of next year, and be in the new building in January of 2012, assuming the bond passes.”
In putting a plan together, the hospital has already engaged an architect, contractor, banker and project manager. The architectural firm is Davis Partnership Architects, the contractor is Adolfson and Peterson General Contractors, the banker is Lancaster Pollard, and the project manager is Adams Management Services.
“All of them have done a great deal of work in Colorado,” Goshe said, adding the hospital planned to use local contractors as much as possible.
“We’ve talked to local businesses already about how they can help, where they can contribute,” Goshe said. “We’ll use local as much as we can.”