Local Pictures
Classified Ads
 Announce Births
Email Us
Buy A Copy
Local Links

click here to
The Daily

web page consultants:
Servant Technologies


10-24-02: Construction nears on cancer center
The Daily Standard
    COLDWATER - The five regional hospitals partnering to build the Grand Lake Cancer Center in Celina are approving changes to the building design just a little more than a week before breaking ground on the project.
    Mercer County Community Hospital board of governors members approved the changes at Wednesday's meeting, bumping the price of the oncology unit from an original estimate of $5.8 million to a new price of $6.8 million. The hospitals that make up the West Central Ohio Regional Healthcare Alliance are collaborating on the project.
    Changes to the floor plan were necessary, Community Hospital Chief Executive Officer Jim Isaacs said, because officials are trying to lure an oncologist, possibly two, to practice there. Officials hope the center can offer radiation and chemotherapy treatment at the site.
    One of the oncologists the hospitals are trying to strike a deal with has requested about 3,000 square feet of additional space, Isaacs said. Additionally, alliance officials have decided to possibly add a second office - also about 3,000 square feet. Each individual hospital in Coldwater, St. Marys, Van Wert, Lima and Bellefontaine must sign off on the additions.
    The new additions would bring the total space at the center to about 24,000 square feet and a total price of about $6.8 million. The oncology center is to be built on 5.75 acres on the east side of Celina between Havemann Road and Pro Drive.
    Community Hospital board members became the first of the group to approve the new plan Wednesday.
    Alliance officials have set a ceremonial groundbreaking for noon Nov. 1. Officials and board members from all of the participating hospitals are expected to attend.
    Before granting their unanimous approval to the expanded plans, board members asked a number of questions. They wanted to know if a second office suite could easily be filled and how much it would cost to add new office space later, after the original project is finished.
    Isaacs told them construction costs could be as much as 50 percent higher to add on to the finished facility at a later date.
    Board member Francis Pax said that was reason enough to take the financial hit now. Even if the space went unfilled, board members noted the center still would be profitable based on early market projections.
    Filling the extra space should not be a problem, board member Dr. Tom Schwieterman said.
    "It's an incredibly competitive market," Schwieterman said. "There can't be too much space here."
    Board members also learned that alliance officials continue to pursue federal assistance to build the center. Congressional leaders are expected
to decide within the next month or so whether $3 million will be appropriated to help build the center. If approved, the federal money would reduce the financial commitment of each participating hospital by about $600,000 each.
    Isaacs reiterated that officials have said they will proceed with the project whether the federal aid comes through or not.
    In other news regarding the cancer center, Isaacs reported the hospital
had received a favorable legal opinion about participation in a future oncology site.
    Since the outset of planning for the Celina center, officials have said they hope to someday expand the Cancer Network of West Central Ohio to a second site, likely near Bellefontaine. All the hospitals would share equally in the profits and expenses as they plan to do with the Celina location.
    Lawyers at Bricker & Eckler researched the issue and ruled favorably
that the local hospital can participate if the project expands to Bellefontaine, Isaacs said. Those plans could be in place within a matter of months, he said.
    Hospital officials did not release the full text of the legal opinion, citing attorney-client privilege.


Phone: (419)586-2371,   Fax: (419)586-6271
All content copyright 2002
The Standard Printing Company
P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH 45822