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Hospital Construction to Start in August: Glenn Korff Estate Gives County Hospital $6.9 Million Gift

Thanks to a generous gift of $6.9 million from Glenn Korff’s estate to the Foundation for Thayer County Health Services, a new Rehab and Wellness Center will be built on the north side of the hospital in Hebron.

“We need to promote health and wellness: nutrition, education  and exercise,” said Michael Burcham, hospital CEO.

Construction on the Rehab and Wellness Center will begin in August 2015 and will lead into a hospital renovation project.

“Thayer County Health Services (TCHS), his hometown, and fitness were all important to Glenn. It is very rewarding to be a part of a project that will incorporate these three things into a legacy for Glenn,” said Rita Luongo, TCHS development director. “In working with Ken Korff and Mary Arth on the project, they expressed the importance of having this facility serve not only patients and employees, but also the residents of Thayer County. This tremendous gift has made it possible for a Wellness Center to be included in the hospital renovation project.”

For the past year, the hospital board and administration have been working on plans for a hospital renovation.

The project is necessary to update areas of the hospital original to when it was built in 1968. The kitchen/cafeteria no longer meets state requirements and must be updated. The project will also update various mechanical and electrical systems, some of which are original to the hospital. As a result of these updates, the hospital hopes to reduce its utility consumption. The cost for these two key components of the project total over $5 million.

When considering the renovation project, TCHS also investigated other areas of the hospital where patient care could be improved.

This led to identifying a need to separate the emergency room, specialty clinic and Labor and Delivery. Currently these services are together within a shared space. Separating these areas would:
• Give the specialty clinic more space to accommodate two or more visiting physicians.
• Space to add a chemotherapy room and a second operating room.
• Allow the emergency room to be closer to the nurse’s station to improve patient care and staff efficiency.  
• Provide private birthing suites for new mothers and their families.

“This is big for the community,” said Burcham. “It’s going to be a lot of fun and I can’t wait to open parts of it so people can take advantage of the space and new services.”

The total cost for the renovation and expansion project is $14.8 million. With the gift from Korff’s estate, the remaining project cost is $7.9 million – with the majority of that cost being things that must be updated.  The remaining components of the renovation project are being done to improve and add more services for patients.

Although TCHS is a county facility, the project will not require new tax dollars to be imposed on county residents. The costs for the renovation project will be paid for by the Foundation’s capital campaign and through local bank financing.

The addition and renovations will be done in several phases. The wellness center will be built as well as a connecting hallway in the south part of the building in phase one. The wellness center will include a walking pool, indoor track, treadmills, free weights, weight machines and an aerobics room. In phase two, the kitchen and emergency room renovations will take place. Phase three will include the renovation of the specialty clinic and labor and delivery rooms. The operating room will be renovated in phase four and will include its own three phases.

By breaking the project in phases, the hospital hopes to “cause minimal disruption as possible,” said Burcham.

The project will take place over a period of 20 to 22 months starting from the time ground is broken in August.

The construction projects done at the hospital were in 1996 and 2004; however, Burcham believes that with these updates, the hospital will not need to do construction on the building for the next 20 to 25 years.

TCHS believes this project will allow them to continue with their commitment to quality, local health care and begin a new chapter in prevention. They hope this project will provide the tools to improve the overall health of county residents.

Having quality health care services in Thayer County will not only benefits patients, but have an impact on the local economy as well.

A modern hospital is one of the key factors people consider when deciding where to live and raise a family.

The new Rehab and Wellness Center could create opportunities for county residents to improve or maintain their quality of life through education and fitness.

The board chose to go with a design/build construction method using McCarthy as their contractor and Altiss as their architect, who was involved in their 2004 renovations.

The hospital plans to use local subcontractors for the project as well.

“This is a community hospital and we want to make this advantageous for everyone in the community,” said Burcham.

TCHS is grateful to Glenn Korff and looks forward to starting the renovation and expansion project.

For those looking to learn more about the project, a public presentation will be held on Monday, July 6, at 7 p.m. in the hospital main lobby, 120 Park Avenue in Hebron.

Participants will be given a tour of the facility and have the opportunity to learn more about the project.

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