Volume 4, Number 38 - December 16, 2004
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Board discusses possibility of new Pinedale clinic
The Sublette County Rural Health Care Board met Monday, Dec. 13, in Pinedale and listened to new objections to its current plans regarding clinic remodeling and construction. The board will soon determine its legacy, which has the potential to be another courthouse boondoggle or a real success story.
Van Huffman, a long-established local building contractor, addressed the board and added support to the objections which have been presented at the last several meetings by retired engineer and resident Bill Schertz. Huffman and Schertz contend that the current plan to remodel the Pinedale Medical Clinic is inefficient, cost prohibitive and could cause years of ongoing problems.
Huffman pointed out past problems he has seen in remodeling projects at the Bureau of Land Management building, Faler's General Store, the Sublette Center and the current courthouse project. Huffman said these problems are compounded in a clinic atmosphere where construction noise and dirt will make effective health care difficult, if not impossible, during the lengthy construction process. Huffman also pointed out that the cost per square foot for the proposed remodeling is higher than the new construction cost proposed for the Marbleton-Big Piney Medical Clinic.
Of concern would be the electrical, heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems; it would be difficult to combine between the old and new construction. None of the systems in the existing structure are designed for expansion and much of it is installed under a concrete slab.
Huffman urged the board to "Do it right and take a little more time." Writing off some costs incurred to date will be offset by getting the best facility available with new construction planned for possible future expansion. Using a common design and plans for both clinics would also result in substantial savings.
Board Member Garry Eiden thanked Huffman for his input and time and for the opportunity to get more knowledgeable local people involved. Board Member Bill Barney asked if Huffman would be willing to volunteer time to advise the board. Huffman agreed and asked that Schertz and other interested locals be included in a meeting to be scheduled in the near future.
Eiden questioned the availability of funding for the clinics. Barney pointed out that the board will have $7,000,000 in funds available after collection of the mill levy and have prepared a grant request for an additional $3,500,000 and may not need additional funding from the county commissioners. Projected costs are about $8,300,000 to proceed as planned.
The board adjourned to executive session to discuss potential property purchase in the Big Piney/Marbleton area, with Barney noting that the preferred parcels have been priced too high.
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