By Shelley Grieshop
A permanent flood wall is being constructed around the medical center in Celina to protect it from further flooding from Beaver Creek.
Construction of the cement wall that will surround the facility will cost about $90,000, but officials believe it is a permanent solution to a problem that has surfaced twice in less than two years.
"This should be a solid, longterm solution," said Terrance Padden, CEO of Mercer Health.
Mercer Health is the corporate name of the hospital and all its related entities.
The medical center, which houses Doctors' Care, clinics and office space for several area physicians, was flooded with up to four inches of water during the Independence Day Flood of July 2003. The entire building had to be gutted and remained closed for remodeling for three months. The Doctors' Care portion of the building was moved to a temporary location nearby on Sugar Street.
The final damage tally was about $1.3 million.
In mid-January, flooding once again hit the area accompanied by freezing temperatures that played havoc on area trees. However, the inside of the medical center remained dry, protected by sandbags piled more than four feet high in some areas.
The new wall will vary in size around the building, standing a little more than 30 inches at the north end of the building where floodwaters were higher and about 18 inches on the south side, Padden explained.
Padden said he believes the wall will look pleasing to the eye when workers from Bruns Building & Development complete the project. The protection will ensure Mercer Health's longterm presence in the community, he added.
"It's cheap insurance," Padden added.