County reviews medical arts building



November 18, 2015 - 12:00 AM

An event that occurred during the recent razing of the old Allen County Hospital brought into focus Tuesday morning the medical arts building, which remains at the site.
County Counselor Alan Weber told commissioners while final pieces of the old hospital were being removed, a wall adjoining the medical arts building collapsed and left its roof at risk. The roof was shored up and black plastic sheeting was applied for protection until permanent repairs may be made.
“I don’t think cost will be too much,” Weber said, and should be done soon.
The commentary launched a short discussion about the building and its role of being the site of where visiting specialists see patients. It’s also the headquarters for home health and hospice.
Because the specialists also see patients in the hospital, the situation is no longer ideal.
“The medical arts building would be more functional next to the hospital,” said Chairman Tom Williams.
The visiting specialists help keep patients in Allen County, providing a steady stream of revenue to the hospital, Williams said. Having the hospital and clinic side by side helps keep those services coming.
Weber agreed now was a good time to think about what role the county could play in seeing a medical arts building be built out by the new hospital.
The medical arts building contains 16,000 square feet. Weber estimated construction of a similar structure on North Kentucky at $2.5 million, with debt service of about $180,000 a year.
At a recent strategic planning meeting of hospital trustees and staff, having such a clinic near ACRH was considered a top priority, Weber said. If that were to occur, consensus was the older building could still be used for home health and hospice.
“It’s our role as commissioners to discuss such things, not ignore them,” Williams concluded.
“We don’t want the hospital to struggle because we didn’t consider” a newer set of medical offices that could easily shift patients needing more care next door to the hospital, Commissioner Jerry Daniels said.
Engineers from G&W Foods, which intends to build a grocery on the older hospital site, will be in Iola in two weeks or so to start preliminary surveys for the new store, Weber added. Also, plans are moving forward for apartment complexes near the grocery.

HUMBOLDT’S interest in purchase a machine — called a Zipper — to churn up oil-based pavement for repairs and new stretches of roadway captivated attention of commissioners.
“It might make more sense for the county to buy one and make it available to cities in the county,” Williams said. Cole Herder, Humboldt administrator, asked the county to participate in the purchase of a Zipper at the commissioners’ Nov. 10 meeting.
Commissioners asked Mitch Garner, director of Public Works, if the county could make use of such a device. The county has a larger machine of a similar nature. Garner said he would look at what the county has done and might want to do.
Carl Slaugh, Iola administrator, said his city might be able to use the Zipper to do such things as mill down bulges in asphalt roads, one of which occurred recently.
Herder put cost of a Zipper at $100,000, more of a financial hurdle for a town of Humboldt’s size — less than 2,000 population — than for the county.

COMMISSIONERS accepted a bid of $1,746.80 from Dale’s Sheet Metal, Iola, to replace a furnace at the senior center in Humboldt. The old one — old and new are Lennox units — had been in place since 1977. Dale’s bid was about $65 more than one from Tholen’s Heating and Cooling, Inc., also of Iola, and much lower than a third bid. Commissioners accepted Dale’s bid because they were impressed that the Lennox unit had lasted twice as long as its expected life span.
They also accepted a bid of $4,666 from National Sign Company, Ottawa, for 300 stop signs. Two others bids were higher.

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