|08-28-03: Community hospital governors
favor rebuilding Doctor’s Care office in Celina
|By TIMOTHY COX
COLDWATER — The Community Medical Center/Doctor’s
Care office on the south edge of Celina will be rebuilt at the
current site and likely reopened by the end of the year.
Mercer County Community Hospital board of governors on Wednesday
signed off on a plan to restore the 25,000-square-foot building
to its original state before the Independence Day flooding inundated
the facility with up to three inches of water. Due to concerns
about bacteria, all floor coverings, ceiling tiles and bottom
four feet of wall boards were removed.
The hospital’s board of trustees still must approve the
reconstruction plan, and board of governors members were adamant
that they only want to rebuild if aggressive flood mitigation
issues are looked at to protect the building in the future.
Clean-up costs and the construction at the site likely will reach
$1.4 million, hospital officials said. Some state assistance might
be available, but it remains unclear how much of the bill will
be left for local officials to deal with.
Some board members, including Dr. Tom Schwieterman, wanted the
board to consider some new ideas and possibly a new location to
rebuild the facility. He also suggested that maybe the offices
there could be paired with the other hospital holdings in the
In the end, though, time and financial constraints led board members
to approve the most basic plan to repair and rebuild the site
at its current location at 950 S. Main St.
Board members were facing a couple of deadlines relative to the
issue. The doctors who were based at the medical center and were
temporarily relocated to various offices in Celina and Coldwater
would not have to return to the facility if it is not reopened
by Nov. 20. Also, the window for any potential state assistance
closes after six months from the time of the flood.
four months, we have to have bills in to the state,” said
Jim Wermert, the hospital’s chief financial officer.
Board members Frances Pax and Schwieterman pushed for the inclusion
of language in the board’s resolution that calls for mitigation
efforts to be pursued. The hospital needs a contingency plan in
the event of future flooding and some physical improvements at
the site to reduce the threat posed by the nearby Beaver Creek,
Some said the chances of flooding equal to what was seen in July
are slim, maybe 1 percent per year. But Schwieterman said he believes
human intervention could have made the area more flood-prone.
“That spillway changes every equation in the book,”
Schwieterman said, talking about the massive concrete structure
on West Bank Road that regulates the level of Grand Lake St. Marys
and feeds the Beaver Creek.
Possible mitigation efforts include changes to floodplain maps,
possible alterations to Schunk Road, or possible flood walls around
the medical center property or along the road. The bicycle path
bridge over the creek also could be widened to eliminate a bottleneck
there, hospital CEO Jim Isaacs said.
However, Isaacs admitted that some potential mitigation efforts
might not be popular with downstream neighbors. Flood walls and
similar barriers would only send more water downstream, possibly
worsening conditions somewhere else, he said.
Other potential plans were presented to the board, including building
a new facility or renovating an existing building at another Celina
location. But even the cheapest new construction scenario still
would cost several million dollars and board members did not seem
interested in discussing such an expansive project.
The building was not covered by flood insurance although a new
policy has now been taken out for about $2,500. The policy provides
up to $500,000 in protection, which still represents only a fraction
of the building’s value.
Bruns Construction, St. Henry, the original builder of the facility,
is in line to do the work, estimated at $860,000. Isaacs said
the law firm Bricker & Eckler, Columbus, provided the hospital
with a legal opinion that officials can proceed with the work
without seeking competitive bids due to the emergency situation.
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