An artist's rendering showing the exterior of Perry County Memorial Hospital's new facility in Tell City. Courtesy Laughlin Millea Hillman Architecture LLC
An artist's rendering showing the exterior of Perry County Memorial Hospital's new facility in Tell City. Courtesy Laughlin Millea Hillman Architecture LLC

Perry County Memorial Hospital has outgrown its current building and will be moved to a facility that is more centrally located and will be large enough to bring all the hospital's services under one roof.

The 117,000-square-foot replacement critical access hospital will be built on 38 acres near the intersection of Ind. 37 and Ind. 237, about five miles from the hospital's current location in Tell City.

Groundbreaking on the $46 million project is expected in December. The hospital is scheduled for completion in fall 2012.

The current hospital was built in 1951 on an 11-acre site at the top of a hill, said Joe Stuber, president and chief executive of Perry County Memorial Hospital.

"We're landlocked and have been for quite some time," he said. "The building is just not large enough for the services that we offer now."

Several houses surrounding the hospital have been purchased over the years, and services have been transferred to those buildings. Stuber said some departments still need more space and there's no room to expand. Parking also has been an ongoing problem.

Hospital officials decided to move forward with the project after a thorough review of a master facilities plan that explored several options including renovating the existing structure.

Stuber said the renovations would have taken six phases and eight years to complete, and most of the old structure would have to be torn down. The total cost would have been $2 million more than the cost of building a replacement facility, and the site still would be landlocked.

The new hospital will be financed with federal revenue bonds through the Federal Housing Administration or the Department of Housing and Urban Development using Build America bonds instead of issuing municipal bonds through county government.

Stuber said the project will not affect Perry County's bonding capacity and the county will not be responsible for the costs.

"It will be totally the hospital's responsibility and it will be paid out of our hospital operations," Stuber said. "This hospital hasn't used any tax dollars for several years and it will not in the future."

The hospital will have a total of 38 beds, including beds for patient observation, but will be limited to 25 inpatients at a time. All of the patient rooms will be private. It also will have three operating rooms, two endoscopy rooms, large waiting areas and a designated emergency entrance.

The number of full-time physicians, nursing staff, technicians and other employees will remain about the same.

The hospital will be more convenient for residents living in Cannelton, Troy and other nearby communities, Stuber said. The campus surrounding the two-story building will have ample parking, a half-mile drive around the building and a half-mile walking path with exercise stations open to the public.

Hospital officials have not decided what to do with the old buildings when the new hospital opens. Some physician offices may remain at the old site and space on the second floor could be leased to tenants.

"Now that we have made the decision to move forward those are alternatives we will be looking at very closely," Stuber said.

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