BARTON COUNTY —The replacement hospital being planned in Ellinwood is moving off the current campus to a new location, according to a media release from the hospital.
Officials say moving the hospital to the new site on the northwest corner of the intersection of Park Street and U.S 56 Highway will accomplish a number of objectives, not the least of which is to save significant amounts of time and money and while also making the institution more accessible.
CEO Kile Magner announced the new site is 15.85 acres located across from the Grove Park Golf Course and the Ellinwood Packing Plant. Magner, CEO since 2015, reported, “We were continuing to plan for construction and demolition on the existing site but the project just became more and more complicated because we didn’t have the space to do everything we needed to do when we needed to do it.”
Magner says they knew it was going to be a tight work zone when planning started but as they moved deeper into the planning and mobilization strategies, the complexity and cost just kept increasing. Finally, he said, “Our staff team requested time to look into an alternate site. Almost immediately we identified savings of more than a half million dollars and that savings number is now even higher.”
According to Ellinwood Hospital District Board President Joyce Schulte, “We will save more than $350,000 simply by not having to deal with existing drainage issues on the current campus, issues that would have only been made worse with a new building and more parking. By working with the city, along with our engineers and earthwork planners, we can address stormwater runoff issues at the new site ahead of construction, something that would have been impossible on the current campus. Eliminating the need for temporary structures so we can continue to provide care during construction is a huge savings as well.”
Moving to the new site, which is 3 times larger than the existing campus, will allow for a shorter construction time, ability to plan for the future, and much greater visibility than currently available to the existing facility, which was built in 1952.
Magner said the hospital has known for quite some time that they had a visibility problem. “There are people who live in Ellinwood and the surrounding area that don’t know the hospital is here in Ellinwood,” he reflected. “And there are others that think it is a nursing home or that thought it was closed.”
Schulte says the new location “will allow the hospital to send the message that we are alive and well here in Ellinwood. Construction on the new site will allow an extra two years of visibility and related marketing. We’re excited because the new facility says we’re still growing what we started 70 years ago.”
The project, according to Magner, is expected to total an estimated 20 million dollars and should be complete in 2.5 years. The project is using USDA Community Development Programs to support both the short-term construction funding and long-term permanent financing needs while relying on the issuance of revenue bonds for debt service.
Over the last two years, the administration and board members of the hospital have been working through extensive research, financial studies, preliminary design, and other due diligence to develop a plan and take steps to the consideration of a new hospital and clinic facility for Ellinwood. The final pieces of the development of the immensely complicated project are coming together now.
Magner reported about the project, “The plans are being finalized, the funding mechanisms are being organized, and the timeline is coming together. The hospital and clinic will be rolling out educational pieces and opportunities to ask questions in the next few months and encourage the community to watch the newspaper and the hospital Facebook page for more information.