Trustees add land to potential property



August 17, 2011 - 12:00 AM

Hospital trustees voted to add an additional five acres to their 25-acre land option on North Kentucky Street to allow them more “flexibility” with the site for a new Allen County Hospital, they said at their meeting Tuesday night.
Still awaiting a complete geotechnical report of the land owned by Chris Hopper, Wichita, trustees postponed a decision of locating a new hospital either there on North Kentucky or at the intersection of U.S. 169 and Oregon Road on land offered by Sally Huskey.
David Wright, architect of the project, said preliminary reports show evidence of limestone ledges “pretty close to the surface,” in the northwest corner of the Hopper land, which would require positioning the hospital farther to the east than originally planned, but with still an adequate distance from Kentucky Street to the east.
Requesting an option for the additional five acres allows the site also to have access to Oregon Road to the north as well as space for a medical arts building or a Veterans Administration facility if that materializes.
Trustees were firm in their desire to have two access points to the hospital for vehicular traffic. Gaining access from the north “offers us flexibility” not only for road traffic but also to allow for future growth of the medical campus, said trustee Patti Boyd.
A complete report of the soil borings should be in hand by next week, Wright said, giving trustees a better picture of the nature of the site and whether it would be more preferable than the Huskey property.
“We have two very attractive properties,” Harry Lee, chairman, said.
Wright showed a number of possible layouts of the 
hospital on the new site. Ironically, plans drawn around the first of the year for the hospital when it was to be on East Street seemed to suit the Kentucky Street site best. Since then, plans had been drawn to accommodate the Huskey property that essentially mirrored the original plans.
“It’s a wrinkle in the plans, going back to the East Street orientation,” Wright said. “But this is going to be a 50-year building and we want to make sure we do it right.”
Though it’s not a “done deal,” as Trustee Jay Kretzmeier said, trustees seem pleased with the relative ease that the Hopper property offers.
Utilities can be accessed with little difficulty; and, it lies within city limits, eliminating the need to annex the property, which in turn eliminates possible friction with city council members who have been cold to the idea.
Trustees will meet a half-hour later than normal when they return Aug. 30. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in the basement of ACH.

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