|07-15-03: Repairs will cost $1 million
|By TIMOTHY COX
The Daily Standard
COLDWATER - Repairs of the Community Medical Center building in Celina
could top $1 million, the Mercer County Community Hospital board of governors learned
during an emergency meeting Monday.
The medical center - home to at least 10 physicians and the popular
Doctor's Care office - will be closed for 90-180 days while the mess made from flooding is
cleaned up and the building repaired. The building was not covered by flood insurance, and
the financial hit stands to drain much of the hospital's cash reserves.
"We're going to run real tight on cash," hospital CEO Jim
Isaacs told board members, noting the hospital has a number of large expenditures on the
Hospital officials have committed to buy a new telephone system for
$225,000, and there are two renovation projects underway. Additionally, the hospital's
share of a new cancer treatment center in Bellefontaine will be due later this year. All
told, the hospital has about $1.25 million in outstanding commitments, not including the
repair of the medical center.
"We have to do all of this while at the same time managing the
rebuilding process," Isaacs said.
Hospital officials are nearing completion of lease deals to temporarily
relocate doctors into offices in Celina and Coldwater.
Repair work cannot begin until an environmental cleanup crew working at
the site is finished. That contractor had to be brought in because the two to three inches
of water that inundated the medical facility was contaminated with bacteria. Cleanup costs
have topped $100,000 so far, including $40,000 on the first day.
All carpet, floor and ceiling tile and the lower four feet of wallboard
has been removed from the building. Any wall studs deemed contaminated also will be
removed. Repairs will not begin until the air quality has been certified inside the
Most of the equipment inside the building was saved by hospital workers
who raced against rising water to move it onto trucks and haul it to storage, Isaacs said.
Officials had planned an aggressive cleanup effort to get the facility reopened by today.
After the building was contaminated, those plans changed.
"The worst-case scenario is what developed," Isaacs told
Mercer County emergency officials at an earlier meeting.
The hospital's financial burden for fixing the building could be eased
if some sort of state or federal assistance is granted. Outside help remains uncertain,
though, Isaacs said.
Chief fiscal officer Jim Wermert said the hospital could pursue a past
$500,000 line of credit to maintain as a financial safety net. State law prevents the
hospital from borrowing any more money without getting voter approval, Wermert said.
Board member Dr. Tom Schwieterman suggested the board might be better
off financing the medical center repairs instead of draining the hospital's available
cash. Schwieterman also questioned the wisdom of rebuilding the facility in a floodplain.
He said he would like the administration to at least come up with some alternate plans.
The estimated $1 million cleanup and repair bill represents just a
fraction of the building's replacement costs, Wermert said. He estimated it would cost in
excess of $3 million to build a new 16,000-square-foot medical building.
Board members also briefly discussed whether they should look into
flood insurance coverage to protect against future losses. The consensus was that
insurance coverage probably would not be affordable, especially since the building is in a
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