Replacement Hospital Project Brings Excitement

Dec 5, 2017 /

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Many years in the making, Uvalde Memorial Hospital announces its intent to proceed with a hospital replacement project that will deliver an improved healthcare experience to the residents of Uvalde, Real, Kinney, Zavala, and Edwards Counties.

The Hospital anticipates the new, 2-story facility to be complete in late 2020 for a cost of $83.5-million. The new building will expand the hospital’s current footprint of 170,000 square feet to a 180,000 square foot configuration. The larger layout will meet regulatory standards and transform the hospital’s delivery of care to better accommodate patients, visitors, and staff with new efficiencies and improved amenities not currently available. The project site will lie southeast of the current facility and will allow services to continue uninterrupted until occupancy of the new state of the art facility.

“The new facility will focus on the growing shift from inpatient to outpatient services. It will create a user friendly environment that puts our patients and visitors at the center,” stated Tom Nordwick, Chief Executive Officer.

The method of healthcare delivery has seen much change in the last 10-15 years with a significant shift towards outpatient services. While hospitals across the nation adjust their service approach to accommodate for the change, the new building will provide UMH with an unmatched opportunity to customize inpatient and outpatient service delivery.

The new facility will also give the hospital an opportunity to implement new technology and equipment such as fully integrated operating rooms, controlled access for patient and visitor safety, modern patient call and response systems, and cutting edge diagnostic tools.

A more efficient layout will allow additional space for many departments and larger patient rooms that meet current regulatory standards. The number of patient rooms will remain consistent with current hospital operations of 25 inpatient beds and 20 outpatient beds. Care under the inpatient and outpatient status will remain seamless from a patient perspective.

The hospital intends to reuse the present chilling plant installed in 2015 as well as the emergency generators replaced in 2016.

Seeds for a project of this magnitude began many years ago as previous administrator Jim Buckner and the hospital board realized a need to plan for the future of healthcare in Uvalde and the surrounding areas. At that time, a project was not financially realistic but the team’s foresight laid the groundwork that, years later, has made the project a reality.

The UMH board of directors and leaders engaged the expertise of Steve Larson, president of Next, Inc., as owner’s representative in 2016. In the early months of 2017, the team completed an assessment of renovation versus replacement of existing facilities. The study explored the benefits and potential downfalls to each option, and concluded building replacement as the favorable choice. The study sited restricting infrastructure, inhibiting engineering factors, incompatibility for technology integration, and inability to renovate without major disruption to services and loss of business as factors.

Many possibilities for the existing facility have been explored and currently, no viable alternative uses have been identified which would not negatively impact the future campus.

“While we wish to be good stewards of the current building, we have yet to find a financially feasible use for the aging plant that dates back as early as 1949,” Nordwick stated.

If a viable option is not identified, the building will be erased and transformed to better accommodate patients and visitors with additional parking and outdoor space, areas potentially available for community use as well.

Collaboration with City of Uvalde officials to discuss the opportunity to develop vacant property south of the hospital has already begun. Preliminary discussions show potential for additional ball fields adjacent to current [[Kiwanis Park]], public walking trails, and community gardens.

TIMELINE

UMH board of directors selected the architectural firm Perkins+Will in June 2017 and in their first months P+W confirmed initial space needs assessments and reviewed preliminary design options.

Public meetings were hosted in August to share “finding of no significant impact” (FONSI) results from the United States Department of Agriculture’s required environmental study. Shortly thereafter, in September, the USDA provided the hospital with a letter of conditions for financing which the hospital board accepted, securing financing in the amount of $58-million from the USDA and a $16.5-million loan guarantee from the USDA through a third party lender. The remaining $8.5-million will be the responsibility of the hospital.

Throughout October and November the P+W team has worked closely with every level of staff at the hospital and completed site visits to neighboring facilities as the work to develop more detailed renderings. Completed construction drawings are anticipated to be ready by October 2018.

The board voted in October 2017 to proceed with a construction management at risk (CMR) delivery model. Under this method, a commitment to complete the project within a specified price and timeline is set between the hospital and construction manager. Tentatively, the CMR would confirm project costs, after drawings are developed, from October to December of 2018 and January 2019 construction would begin. Following this timeline, the finished facility would be completed within 18-24 months, opening sometime between June 2020 and January 2021.

The hospital is currently undergoing a feasibility study to determine the ability to raise funds in support of the project that will allow enhancements in technology and space. For additional information or to participate in the study, please contact Sheri Rutledge at 830.278.6251 ext. 1616 or Karla Radicke at 830.278.6251 ext. 1037.


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