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HCH transfers old building to county commissioners

The Harrison County Hospital board of trustees released the old hospital campus buildings along Atwood Street to the county at a joint meeting with the county commissioners last Wednesday night.
Steve Taylor, HCH CEO, said since the strategic planning of the new hospital began nearly a decade ago, it has always been the intent of the board to give the Atwood Street property to the county.
‘The general consent of the board is, if the county can benefit from the facilities on Atwood Street, then we would help that along,’ said Taylor.
Taylor said the board moved forward with the sale of the property four months ago, but since then the commissioners decided the building could be of use to the county.
‘I think we’re pretty much in agreement,’ said Commissioner James Goldman.
‘My recommendation is to take action and transfer it back to the county,’ said Taylor.
The commissioners are nearing completion on the space-needs study for county agencies conducted by RQAW Inc. Preliminary results from Joe Mrak of RQAW showed the county falls short of work-space needs.
Goldman said the former medical office building could be used to house the health department and possibly be the home for county agencies currently located in the annex building which is in the flood plain.
‘You can walk around and see the possibilities,’ said Commissioner Terry Miller.
The transfer of the Atwood Street facilities is temporarily set for July 1. A few physicians who are still using the medical office building will be moved out by September, according to Taylor.
Hospital trustee Fred Owen made the motion, seconded by Carl Duley, to transfer the facility to the county.
‘Gentlemen, you now are owners of a new property,’ said Paul (Pete) Martin, hospital board chairman.
Also on the agenda last week was an update on the new EMS building. Architect Jim Walker showed the commissioners the floor plan.
‘It’s still the same footprint,’ he said. ‘We still expect it to be in the $900,000 to $1 million range.’
The 9,000-square-foot building could be completed in eight or nine months if everything goes right, said Taylor.
‘It’s a very nice building,’ said Taylor. ‘It’s a step up.’
Currently, the EMS department is located in a renovated house across from the old hospital.
The hospital board agreed to get the project ready for bid letting. The EMS station will be built adjacent to the new hospital.
‘It will be a lot quicker that way,’ said Owen. ‘You won’t have to wait on the council.’
Nancy Zimmerman made the motion to have the hospital board fund the project procedures leading up to the bid-letting stage. Lowell Smith seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.