Hospital Board OK’s continuing design plans

by Dennis Rahm

It wasn’t unanimous by any means, but the Board of Commissioners for Lake Chelan Community Hospital voted 3-2 on Monday to move forward with design plans for a new hospital. The move comes despite financial concerns raised by Commissioners Jordana LaPorte and Mary Murphy.

After two seperate board meetings to discuss the issue, a motion was made by commissioner Mary Signorelli to move forward with finishing the design work for a new hospital. The motion was seconded by commissioner Fred Miller. Board Chair Phyllis Gleasman cast the third vote in favor of moving forward with design plans while both LaPorte and Murphy voted against the motion.

LaPorte stated she wasn’t saying she doesn’t want to build a new hospital, but that the timing is off. She pointed out the hospitals financials are not pleasant and also noted the estimated cost of the new hospital is now more than what had been budgeted. Murphy echoed concerns over the financial situation of the hospital and said it made it difficult for her to want to move forward.

Murphy concerned with jeopardizing survival of the hospital

Meanwhile, Commissioner Signorelli was strongly in favor of finishing the design plans for a new 52,420 square foot hospital in order move the project forward for permitting.

Signorelli — Not trying to act reckless, but rather responsibly

Project Manager Dick Bratton explained that moving forward with the design phase allows for parallel actions to take place.

Dick Bratton — This is all driven by the opportunity to start construction in Spring of 2021

The action taken by the Board allows the project to continue moving forward towards a possible 2021 construction start. It was in 2017 that voters approved a $44.5 million budget for the construction of a new hospital.

The next scheduled board meeting will be Tuesday, October 27, starting at 1:30 p.m. For additional information, please visit the Lake Chelan Health website.