The Ekalaka Eagle - Your Community Builder

Option #6

Latest Dahl Memorial facility plan nears completion


January 12, 2018

The area outlined in black is the proposed site location of Option #6.

In January 2017, Carter County hired Slate Architecture to complete a Preliminary Architectural Report (PAR) to assess the needs and evaluate options for Dahl Memorial Hospital to meet future health care needs of the community. The goal was to select an option for upgrades to the hospital that provides the best value considering a balance between facility needs and cost.

The design team completed a kick-off meeting with the county and Dahl Memorial Hospital (DMH) to determine the scope of work and approach to the project at the end of January 2017. In February, the design team completed work sessions with DMH staff and Carter County; including a comprehensive review of the facility's existing condition. Public Meetings were held in Ekalaka on February 28 and in Boyes and Alzada on March 16, 2017. Public meetings were very well attended with a combined total of 100 names on all three sign-in sheets. The focus of these meetings was to present information about the existing conditions of the DMH facility, discuss goals and objectives of the project, and obtain input from the public before starting work on project approach and options.

Based on a majority of the feedback received at the public meetings, keeping a health care facility in Carter County was supported. The need for improving the facility was also supported by a majority of the attendees. A strong emphasis was placed on determining the best value and "doing it right;" specifically getting the most out of the dollar spent by understanding the needs, filtering out any wants, and taking a fiscally responsible approach to the project.

On June 12 and June 13, 2017 Slate Architecture presented four options summarized below:

Option #1 – "Do Nothing" with only necessary mechanical and ADA upgrades. Conceptual Cost – approximately $1.7 Million with an estimated life expectancy of 15 years.

Option #2 – "New Construction on a New Site" located at the intersection of E. Speelmon St. and Hwy 323. Estimated Probable Cost – $14.7 Million with a life expectancy of 60-70 years.

Option #3 – "New Clinic and Hospital with Major Addition/Renovation" to the existing DMH facility. Estimated Probable Cost –$13.8 Million with a life expectancy of 40-50 years.

Option #4 – "New clinic and Minor Hospital Renovation" to the existing DMH facility. Estimated Probable Cost – $8.8 Million with a life expectancy of 40-50 years.

Based on public input received at the June meetings and further discussions with the design team, the decision was made by the county and DMH to direct Slate Architecture to pursue an Option #5. Option #5 included the goals of keeping the new hospital in the same vicinity the community is accustomed to, demolition of the old elementary school building, keeping the existing DMH facility in operation during the construction with minimal disturbance, and long-term cost benefit. Therefore, Option #5 entailed:

Option #5 – "New Construction on old Elementary School Site," located west of the county courthouse. Estimated Probable Cost - $16.4 Million with a life expectancy of 60-70 years.

The PAR, including option #5, was completed in October 2017. The estimated probable cost of $16.4 million was determined to be too expensive. The end of 2017 included some unexpected changes in management at DMH. After further discussion with the county and DMH on how to proceed, the decision was made to stay the course with option #5, but revisit DMH needs, simplify the structure type, and exhaust options to add value and reduce the cost of Option #5. This will result in a final Option #6.

Option #6 is anticipated to be completed within the first half of 2018. Carter County has existing funds reserved for a portion of this project; however Option #6 will be presented to the public in the form of a bond election in the General Election held November, 2018, to provide additional funding needed for the project and confirm support for spending existing funds available.

Option #6 will be available to the public for review in June 2018 at the Carter County Courthouse and information will be presented to the public so voters can cast an informed bond election ballot. Please feel free to send written comments, via letters, directly to the county courthouse at P.O. Box 315, Ekalaka, MT 59324; or e-mails to the clerk and recorder at [email protected]


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