Hospital Blueprint

The county hospital board has signed the requisite paperwork to buy property for the new hospital and set its tax levy for the upcoming year.

The Jackson County Regional Heath Center Board of Trustees approved the purchase of about 25.8 acres of land from the Loren Lubben Revocable Trust Feb. 26. The property is located on the south end of 17th Street near Prairie Creek Golf Course and Wal-Mart, south of Maquoketa.

The board paid about $683,859, or $26,500 per acre, for the land. The hospital board already paid about $70,000 of that, according to the hospital’s attorney, Steve Kahler.

The final step in the purchase process, Kahler said, is receipt of a letter of acknowledgement from the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office. He said the letter, which is a formality, should arrive within a week.

JCRHC will take possession of the property by mid-March and has been granted early access to it to conduct preliminary construction work.

The Maquoketa City Council a week earlier accepted the Lubbens’ application for voluntary annexation. As a result, JCRHC is responsible for putting in the public infrastructure (water and sewer) and connecting it to the city.

Representatives from J. H. Findorff & Son Construction said contractors will be able to bid on the project beginning March 11. The construction company mailed bidding information to “several thousand prospective bidders” Feb. 21.

Bids are due before 1 p.m. April 2.

Findorff reps said they “feel pretty good about the bidding atmosphere right now” and expect about 10 bids per package, which include everything from carpentry and tiling to earthwork and HVAC.

The board plans to award contracts in mid-April and break ground on the 71,500-square-foot facility in May.

The new hospital is estimated to cost about $36.8 million and will be paid for with money the hospital board has saved along with revenue bonds.

Patients and visitors would enter the main level through one of two main-level entrances, check in at the registration desk, and wait in a single 200-foot hallway. All patient services would be on the main level, including surgery, radiology, lab, rehab, specialty clinics, pharmacy, inpatient care and emergency. Patients could take stairs or an elevator to the lower level for food, classrooms or administration.

The new hospital would be licensed for 25 beds, the same as current facility. Four emergency department treatment rooms and two trauma rooms would be shared.

Enough land remains for expansion to the north and east for any future hospital or partnering needs.

If all goes according to schedule, the new hospital should be open in January 2020.

In other hospital news:

 The board voted to increase its tax asking by 1.5 percent in the new fiscal year, which begins July 1.

The hospital will seek to collect just over $1.09 million in property taxes in 2019-20. This is an increase of about $16,100 from the previous year.

Iowa Code gives the hospital the taxing authority to ask for up to $1.9 million.