Hospital Approves Bid For New MRI

The Belleville Telescope

The Republic County Hospital board of trustees approved a bid of $2.233 million Thursday for construction necessary to house a new MRI/imaging suite.

Low bidder was Crossland Construction, Columbus KS, which previously built MRI additions and replacement facilities for St. Francis in Wichita.

“Crossland has built (an MRI suite) from the ground up, which is different than just a swap out,” said hospital CEO Dan Kelly.

The hospital received two bids for the project, which differed by only $10,000. Kelly had hoped for four bidders, but noted the level of stress in construction trades at the present time rivals the stress in health care.

“This is the craziest building environment I’ve ever been in,” said Kelly, who previously guided construction of a new hospital in Nebraska City. Contractors are concerned about labor and material shortages, he said.

Bids were higher than estimated. The board decided to make up the difference between a $2 million loan secured through Astra Bank and the bid from the approximately $3.7 million in federal Covid funds recently released to the hospital.

Total cost of the first phase of the project is approximately $4 million. Phase 1 of the hospital project includes not only a new MRI, but a new CT scanner, 3D mammography, bone density machine and other equipment upgrades, about $2 million in purchases approved earlier by the board. Interior remodeling for the project is being completed by hospital engineering staff.

The board will meet in special session on Thursday, February 10 at 6 p.m. to discuss Phase 2 of the project, which will extend a new trauma wing on the west side of the hospital, from the MRI construction to the west end of the current acute nursing floor. The majority of that project will be funded with existing cash, thanks to the federal monies the hospital has received to cover qualifying Covid expenses.

Hospital board meetings are open to the public.