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Future MMSC project down to four options

December 30, 2012
By ANDREW POTTER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

This next year will be key to help define the future of Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center and its facilities. In the years following, the decisions made in 2013 will be put into action.

The hospital, its board and a steering committee are wrapping up a key planning stage to see what direction they want to take for the future of MMSC facilities. They have narrowed down the future facility work to four options ranging in estimated cost from $45 to $70 million.

The options include: renovation and reuse the existing space with a new section in the parking lot, a Main Street reroute to put the hospital next to the current McFarland Clinic site, a completely new facility built on site and a new facility built off site.

Article Photos

Option 1: Renovate and reuse

Brian Burnside, CEO of MMSC, said they are reaching for the lofty goal of being a top 10 percent hospital in the nation with a main focus on improving the patient experience at the facility.

Why are new facilities needed?

Much of the current hospital was built to cater to in-patient services, which was the norm when it was built. Now, 80 percent of patients are served on an out-patient basis at MMSC. Hospital leaders would prefer a design that allows easier in and out access for these patients.

The current facility, with all of its buildings constructed in different years, is very energy inefficient. A new facility could save $300,000 to $400,000 annually on energy consumption.

MMSC board members took part in an exercise where they pretended to be patients this past year. They also visited other hospitals, especially more modern facilities.

"What our board saw was we did have an opportunity to modernize," Burnside said.

The options

1. Renovation and reuse

($45-$50 million)

This would build a new building in the current parking lot and add space to the McFarland Clinic site. The 1976 building would be maintained and renovated and the current cath land and medical clinic would remain.

2. Main Street reroute ($65-$70 million)

This option would allow them to put the new facility and current McFarland Clinic next to each other. Main Street would be rerouted around the hospital campus. Burnside confirmed this is not currently high on the list of options.

"There are some real challenges with making this a reality," he said.

3. Full on site replacement ($50-$55 million)

This would be an entirely new facility on the northeast edge of the current hospital campus which is currently the parking lot. The clinic and cath lab would be maintained and space would be added to McFarland Clinic.

4. Full off site replacement ($55-$60 million)

This would have a new facility built at an entirely different location. It would allow room for growth, but with no land currently owned by MMSC elsewhere, there would be an added cost.

"We haven't chosen a site and we don't own any land," Burnside said.

The decision

Burnside said they are looking at about six months to make a decision on what option to select going forward. After that decision is made, the design phase will be ramped up, as right now they just have conceptual blocks of space for the plans. Erdman Architecture of Madison, Wisc., has been the lead architect of the project so far.

Burnside said the project would be paid for in four ways - financing, current hospital funds, fundraising, and through medical community partners. MMSC will be celebrating 100 years in the community in 2014 and Burnside is steadfast that he wants work to begin by the end of that year.

"On Dec. 31, 2014, I believe that you will see some evidence of a major facility project under way," Burnside said.

It appears the route to better overall care has begun with hard decisions on the way for MMSC leadership. Burnside said they have come a long way in the past nine months on the facilities plan.

"The hospital has a very good decision to make, but it's going to be difficult to make that decision," Burnside said.



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