By Timothy Cox
Mercer Health officials still are shopping for available land around Celina for a possible site to build a new hospital.
Mercer Health CEO T.J. Padden had been given the go-ahead to formalize a purchase option agreement on a tract of land in or near Celina, but now is looking elsewhere. Since Padden received that approval, another entity has reached a possible agreement on the same property.
"When that was revealed, it became difficult to visualize a site plan for our facility," Padden wrote in his monthly report to the hospital board of governors.
The land in question is part of the Grand Lake Industrial Park off Staeger Road. Celina Mayor Sharon LaRue this morning would not give specifics on the issue but said the city is working with an existing company on a possible relocation to the industrial park.
Mercer Health officials had concentrated their search for suitable land to the east and northeast edge of Celina. They are now looking all around the city, including north, west and south toward Montezuma. Board members agreed to consider hiring an outside firm, Charis Consulting Inc., Hudson, to help with site selection and other issues surrounding the new hospital, a project that is known among Mercer Health officials as the Celina outreach facility.
The new facility originally was pitched as a smaller version of the existing hospital in Coldwater, with a full range of services. Charis Consulting also would study that issue and produce a report to hospital officials within six weeks or so.
Charis officials are expected to make a presentation to board members at next month's board meeting. Board members then would decide whether to hire the firm.
Getting suitable land is critical to deciding exactly what form the outreach facility would take, Padden said.
"The project is contingent on proper acquisition of land at the proper location," Padden said. "We are still investigating our options on this. The size of the property we acquire may determine what type and range of services we can place in Celina."