Cloud County Health Center Breaks Ground on New Hospital; Plans to Transition to New Brand Identity in 2022

Cloud County Health Center Breaks Ground on New Hospital; Announces Plans to Transition to New Brand Identity in 2022

During a ceremonial groundbreaking event on Monday, March 1st, Cloud County Health Center administration, board members, employees and hundreds of community members celebrated the start to the construction of a new $40.35 million state-of-the-art medical facility designed to meet the growing health care needs of the community.

Cloud County Health Center Administrator David Garnas said the outpouring of support they received at the groundbreaking is both gratifying and humbling.

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Inside the new 76,000-square-foot hospital, Cloud County Health Center will provide fourteen inpatient beds, emergency department, surgery space, rural health clinic, and all appurtenant services, as well as space to continue the variety of specialty clinic services already provided at the existing facility.

Last summer, Cloud County Health Center announced they've obtained financing from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through a program that develops essential community facilities in rural areas to construct, purchase equipment and pay related project expenses for the new health care facility in Concordia, continuing to be one of the few hospitals in the state of Kansas that does not receive tax support.

To reflect its evolution, Garnas announced at Monday's ceremony the hospital will be changing its name to North Central Kansas Medical Center, showcasing their growing prowess in the region and their desire to serve those in the area looking for top-tier care.

Garnas told KNCK News they will transition to the new name once the new facility opens in 2022.

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Cloud County Health Center along with support from Salina Regional Health Center first announced plans to build the new modern medical facility along College Drive in Concordia in July 2019.  The hospital has a clinical and operational affiliation with Salina Regional Health Center to better serve their patients and communities.

Joel Phelps, President/Chief Executive Officer of Salina Regional Health Center, says the partnership has allowed them to ensure Cloud County Health Center's growth and success and develop a culture of excellence in regards to quality, patient satisfaction, and patient access.

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Talk of a new medical facility in Concordia has been in play for more than a decade.

In November 2008, voters in Cloud County overwhelmingly voted no to a bond issue of $28.9 million in order to pay the costs to acquire a site in Concordia and construct, furnish and equip a new Cloud County Health Center.

During a special election in February 2013, voters again defeated a proposal to build a new hospital, this time to be built adjacent to Blosser Municipal Airport in Concordia, with construction of the hospital paid for through a combination of philanthropic gifts and bond financing, repaid by revenue generated by the new hospital and through the issuance of a countywide .75% sales tax increase.

In the fall of 2018, CloudCorp sent an email asking local entities to come together to support projects prioritized by the community.  The local governmental entities, taxing bodies and boards throughout Cloud County identified a new modern medical facility as the top overall priority project for the community.

Cloud County Health Center Board Chairman Phil Gilliland commended the hospital's providers and staff for their patience over the years, and said he's excited to finally give them the facility they deserve.

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The Cloud County Health Center, in conjunction with Salina Regional Health Center, embarked on a four-month Master Site and Facility Plan process in the winter of 2018 to evaluate their current market position and to match the hospital's strategic goals with its facility needs over the next 10 to 20 years and beyond.  

TreanorHL, an architectural design, planning, interior design, historic preservation, civil engineering, and landscape architecture firm, prepared the plan along with Brack & Associates Consulting Engineers, P.A., and Cumming Corporation.  The plan was developed to improve the efficiency of the patient path through the hospital, improve the quality of the patient experience, and create a quality work environment that supports medical staff, employee and volunteer recruitment and retention that balances with available resources.

According to the Master Site and Facility Plan, the findings of the review team did not support the continued use of the hospital building for acute care nor for outpatient care functions.  The existing multi-story configuration of the building, estranged departmental relationships as well as site slope elements have constrained the staff, patients, and visitors for multiple years.

Many hours were spent evaluating the existing building, which turns 71-years old this year.  According to the plan, limited ceiling heights, narrow room bays, undersized toilets, and aged mechanical systems coupled with the extreme departmental separations form a strong basis for new construction.  While some observed limitations and difficulties noted can be addressed, achieving a usable and maintainable building for the next 70-years would not be cost-effective through renovation.

Three different site locations were considered in this process.  The plan concluded that the hospital would be better served by a new appropriately sized and planned facility on an adjacent or new site.

Cloud County Health Center identified land on open property near Dollar Tree across the street from Cloud County Community College as the location for a new single-story facility.  In the summer of 2019, the Concordia City Commission approved a development agreement with Cloud County Health Center for Lot 5, Block A, of College Drive Park, while the Cloud County Community College Board of Trustees voted unanimously to enter into a development agreement with Cloud County Health Center for Lot 6 of College Drive Park for the purposes of constructing the new medical facility.

At the same time, Cloud County Health Center engaged with Dougherty Mortgage, LLC, one of the industry’s top providers of conventional and affordable multifamily financing that delivers a wide spectrum of capital financing solutions for acute care hospitals and health care providers nationwide.  The hospital and Dougherty Mortgage entered discussions with USDA regarding a loan application to obtain financing for the project.  The loan application took less than a year to complete, and Cloud County Health Center announced in June 2020 their USDA application was approved to finance the build of the new facility.

TreanorHL completed the design process at the end of 2020.  While design work was slower than anticipated because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Curtis Hendershott, Principal at TreanorHL, said their prior experience designing facilities gave them a strong understanding of the challenges and opportunities of modern healthcare projects and resulted in a facility design that should serve the healthcare workers and the patients of Cloud County Health Center well.

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Hendershott says the genuine personal connections built with members of Cloud County Health Center made for an easy collaboration at all phases of the process.

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Last winter, Cloud County Health Center selected McCownGordon Construction, one of the largest general contractors and one of the fastest growing companies in the region, to provide construction management at-risk services in connection with the project.

McCownGordon has extensive experience in renovating, upgrading and building new hospitals, pharmacies, imaging centers, emergency departments, surgery centers, medical office buildings and other healthcare facilities.  McCownGordon has also worked on a variety of health care projects in the Kansas City area, including projects for St. Luke's Health System, the University of Kansas Health System, Children's Mercy Hospital, and more.

Overall physical project plans were 100% complete and pre-bid packages went out to contractors at the end of December 2020.

Brian Fuemmeler, Market Leader for McCownGordon, said the bid process was completed in January and they received a total of 127 bids.

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Construction on the new facility officially begins in mid-March, starting with dirt work at the project site.

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Construction of the new hospital is expected to be complete in the fall of 2022.