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Split board OKs old hospital site plan

Harrison County Commissioner Carl (Buck) Mathes last Tuesday night introduced a new proposal site for a government building complex, shortly before the other two commissioners, Terry Miller and James Goldman, approved the master plan study by RQAW Consulting Engineers and Architects to remodel the old hospital campus in Corydon for government use.
Mathes said he is not ready to adopt the $13 million plan the Indianapolis-based company has compiled involving the old hospital campus off Atwood Street.
Mathes’ plan includes the purchase of 43 acres in Corydon, owned by Edsel Byrd, located between Edsel Lane and Corydon-Ramsey Road. Mathes said he thinks the purchase price will be reasonable and the county will only use seven or eight acres, leaving the remaining land to be sold.
The county already has plans to tie S.R. 135 to Corydon-Ramsey Road with Pacer Court (the road leading to Cracker Barrel and O’Charley’s), Mathes said, and this property ‘runs right through’ those plans.
Mathes said he favors new buildings instead of old ones and said his plan would include adding to the justice center.
‘I really like your all’s plans, but it’s in the wrong location,’ Mathes said to Bret Dodd of RQAW.
Mathes doesn’t want to see government buildings move south and would like to see someone purchase the hospital property to put it on the tax rolls.
Miller said he can’t see how Mathes’ plan will be less expensive than what RQAW proposed, which totaled $26 million with new construction before the old hospital campus building came into the equation, cutting the price tag in half. Mathes responded by saying everyone will have plenty of room with the 25-year plan proposed by RQAW.
‘It looks like a waste to me, almost,’ Mathes said.
After reviewing the document, Dodd asked the board for approval of the master plan. Mathes made the motion to table the issue for 30 days, but it died for lack of a second. Miller then made a motion to approve, and Goldman seconded.
‘I, personally, have put a lot of work in it,’ Goldman said. ‘We’ll go forward from here.’
In other matters, Emergency Medical Services building architect Jim Walker presented a new figure on the proposed EMS building. Walker said after surprisingly high bids were opened Dec. 15, he met with engineers, contractors and EMS director Gary Kleeman to reduce the cost. The lowest of 15 bids opened that night was $1.39 million, from Jasper-based Streicher Construction Inc.
The county council, in October, approved $720,000 out of the riverboat fund to cover the county’s portion of the cost. The hospital agreed to fund the rest of the project, which was estimated at $270,000, keeping the total cost at just under $1 million.
Walker said the group was able to bring the cost down to $1.1 million. He added that the hospital board may be flexible with its payment amount on the building.
The board tabled the matter.
The proposed site for the 8,400-square-foot building is to the southeast of the hospital. The one-story structure would have a four-bay garage, supply room, training room and space for the Emergency Management Agency’s event trailer. The two wheelchair vans would also be kept in the building, as would the ambulance stationed off Quarry Road.