Community Improvements/Projects

Bowman Hospital Expansion Gets Full $25M in Loans




Bowman hospital expansion gets full $25M in loans

By BRYCE MARTIN

Pioneer Editor 

Planning for the Southwest Healthcare campus expansion in Bowman is revving up following the recent approval of integral loans to fund the multi-million dollar project.

Southwest Healthcare Services' $25 million plan to relocate the majority of its central health care services to its existing long-term care facility, and to majorly expand and rejuvenate that campus, spent several months waiting for the official green light from its two major lenders, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Bank of North Dakota.

As of late last month, both parties granted approval to fund the project.

The USDA approved in October its portion of loans for the project, according to Southwest Healthcare CEO Becky Hansen. Last month, the hospital received final approval from the Bank of North Dakota.

Both entities equally will fund the $25 million cost of expansion, which is made up of about $17 million in construction costs and includes "soft" and contingency costs plus expenses for medical equipment and furnishings.

"(The funding) was 99 percent sure, we just wanted to hear that final approval," Hansen said.

Even though the loans are in place, Southwest Healthcare actively continues its Capital Campaign fundraising drive to ease the debt burden from the loans.

"We've had a very positive response from the communities," said Bruce Bowman, Southwest Healthcare board member and Capital Campaign co-chairman.

The community-wide campaign is ongoing, said Alli Engelhart, marketing director for Southwest Healthcare. As part of the campaign, a letter soon will go out to everyone in the community for an opportunity to support the local health care provider.

FURTHER READING: Southwest Healthcare announces hospital expansion project

Following the approval of funding, the expansion project now enters a final design phase.

Structural plans for the project have remained unchanged from floor plans issued last fall, but Hansen said the architect has done some internal fine-tuning.

"The staff is really getting excited," Hansen said.

In the next week, a meeting will be held for Southwest Healthcare's staff to look at the plans and offer input.

Following the final design phase, the plans will be submitted to the USDA for review. The plans were submitted to the Department of Health in September and currently await their approval as well. Upon approval, the project's contract bidding and awarding processes will begin.

"All of this will be going on behind the scenes," Hansen said. "People are contacting us constantly right now."

The scope of the expansive project focuses on the revitalization of the existing long-term care facility, located at 802 2nd St. NW, and adding a considerable amount of square footage to that facility while bringing critical services from other facilities to develop a centralized location.

A larger emergency department and clinic highlight the larger space, in addition to locating both outpatient and inpatient therapy and rehabilitative departments at one site, creating a central business office, expanding the long-term care activities area, construction of a new Alzheimer's Unit and restoration of the facility's recognizable chapel.

A ground breaking at the site is expected in 2014, according to Hansen.