County combines health clinic projects

Two separate projects to renovate health clinics will seek bids together after county hospital leaders learned local construction companies are too busy to meet their tight schedule. The projects are a remodel at the Medical Arts Building and for an outpatient clinic at Allen County Regional Hospital.



February 14, 2022 - 9:05 AM

The hospital’s Medical Arts Building at Second and Madison streets could get remodeled. Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register

Two separate remodel efforts for county-owned health care facilities might need to share a contractor, as local construction companies appear too busy to meet a tight schedule.

A hospital facilities board, which oversees maintenance and repair of county-owned buildings including Allen County Regional Hospital, said it plans to combine bids for work on two projects.

First is the remodel of the Medical Arts Building at 825 E. Madison St. 

The county wants to remodel part of the building and move its health clinic there. The clinic currently is at 401 S. Washington but its lease ends June 30.

The other project is a major remodel at ACRH, which will renovate the former labor and delivery unit into an outpatient clinic for special services such as surgery, pulmonology, wound care and more.

COSTS of those projects aren’t yet known, but preliminary estimates of the outpatient clinic remodel at the hospital indicated it would cost about $838,628.

The facilities board members hoped the medical arts building project would be minimal, but the project is likely to see higher costs than anticipated.

That’s because of two things: mold remediation and a more extensive remodel than expected. 

The mold remediation is complete, but the process took several months. The cost at one time was projected to be as high as $80,000, but instead was approved at $9,411.39.

Board members also got their first look at drawings for the remodel of the building’s interior. 

The plans include more rooms and therefore the building of more walls than expected, facilities board chairman Terry Spark said. 

“You can see looking at the scope and diagram, this thing took on a new life,” he said. 

The remodel will focus on the north side of the building and includes eight clinic rooms, two procedure rooms, office space for two physicians, a lab area, a reception and waiting room, and general office and meeting rooms. 

Mostly, though, the increased scope of the project is due to meeting specifications for rural health clinics, Sparks and hospital CEO Elmore Patterson said. 

“When it had to go through the St. Luke’s design and engineering, it got a lot more complicated,” Sparks said. “You can’t just go out and buy any type of flooring. It has to be a certain type. I learned a lot through this process.”

Patterson said the facility has to be in compliance with federal, state and local building requirements. 

Plans to remodel the Medical Arts Building show eight exam rooms and two physician offices, among other improvements on the north side of the building.Courtesy photo

THE OUTPATIENT  clinic project has been sent out for bids, and the medical arts building is ready to do the same.

But efforts to find a local contractor to handle the medical arts building have fallen short. Everyone Sparks has talked to has said they couldn’t get to it for nine months or a year.

Ideally, the project would be done in June, before the lease on the current health clinic space expires. 

Because of that, Sparks talked to one of the contractors who is expected to bid on the hospital’s outpatient clinic project. Yes, that contractor could do both projects and likely could complete the medical arts building in about three months. 

The board decided to see if they could combine the two projects in the bidding process. 

The hospital’s Medical Arts Building at Second and Madison streets could get remodeled. Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register

IN OTHER news, the board:

• Heard a financial report that showed the county received more sales tax for the hospital facilities than expected in December, about $74,000. In a typical month, the county’s quarter sales tax generates between $50,000 and $55,000. January was more typical, at $53,000. 

• Approved a contract with Larry Peterson to continue to provide accounting and financial services on behalf of the county facilities board.

• Heard an update on a walking trail on the hospital grounds. Thrive Allen County is building the trail and mapped out the route. Construction likely will take place in the spring or summer.



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