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Foundation supports hospital project

The Harrison County Community Foundation’s board of directors Monday night unanimously voted to support construction of a $41 million hospital in northwest Corydon.
‘We voted to conceptually support the hospital with $5 million,’ HCCF chair Jane Kraft said yesterday. ‘The decision on how to fund a portion of the project will be made soon.’
The Foundation’s finance committee will meet within two weeks and present the funding options to the full board at its next meeting on May 2, Kraft said.
The options could range from writing a $5 million check to assisting the hospital by making payments on the debt.
The Foundation has recently awarded $1-1/2 to $2 million a year for scholarships and grants; the $5 million contribution to HCH could lessen the amount available in grants later this year and in the near future.
The mission of the Foundation is to serve the people of Harrison County; the 65,000 patients who used the hospital last year makes it a lucrative project for funding by the Foundation, Kraft said.
The Foundation’s support comes on the heels of a decision March 28 by the Harrison County Council to appropriate $12 million for the project in three annual installments of $4 million.
The council’s funding approval comes a little more than two years after hospital plans to move from Atwood Street, near the Corydon schools and rehabilitation/nursing homes in south Corydon, were approved by the Harrison County Commissioners. What followed were numerous attempts to get half the financing from riverboat revenue.
The Harrison County Council could not reach accord on whether the hospital should be built or if riverboat funds should be approved for the project until a consulting firm was hired by the council. It studied and then approved the hospital’s plans.
Hospital executive director Steve Taylor said yesterday construction could start as soon as late summer and will likely take 18 to 21 months. With help from riverboat revenue and Foundation funds, the hospital will be able to finance the balance on its own. Taylor said the hospital realized a $3 million profit last year, but that came after two fairly ‘lean’ years.
The increase in revenue is attributed in part to having two full-time surgeons, which means patients can get much of the medical care they need here. ‘We want to provide as much care as we can to people locally,’ Taylor said. ‘They don’t have to drive out of town, and it puts money back into our economy.’
A medical office building will be constructed with private funds at the hospital site, which is bordered on the east by Corydon-Ramsey Road, on the north by Interstate 64 and on the west by S.R. 337.
The hospital will use sewage treatment services that will become available after a regional district has been formed.