TCMH building project official after loan documents signed

In a special meeting of the Texas County Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees held recently, hospital board members signed documents to close on the $18.1 million USDA loan to expand and renovate the hospital. Pictured are, from left:Êboard members Janet Wiseman, Omanez Fockler, Jane Kirkwood and TCMH chief financial officer Linda Pamperien.

“We have an official project.”
Wes Murray, chief executive officer at Texas County Memorial Hospital, reported those words last week to board members at their monthly meeting.
While bulldozers moved dirt and rock and excavators dug trenches outside the hospital, Murray explained that the signing of the loan documents by the Texas County Commissioners was a “big step” in formalizing the $18.1 million expansion and renovation project at the county hospital.
Murray complimented the construction crews at work creating a new parking area and doing preliminary site work for the expansion portion of the project.
“About the entire former south parking lot has been prepped for asphalt,” Murray said, explaining that in some places 36 inches of dirt was removed. Base rock will be laid on top of the dirt. Asphalt is slated to be put down in mid-November.
Construction companies recently worked at TCMH on a Saturday in order to accommodate the hospital and clinic, which are typically much busier during the week than on the weekend. Doss and Harper Quarry in Houston also stayed open late and on a Saturday to provide gravel for weekend excavation work at TCMH.
“The cooperation of these subcontractors and suppliers really helped us,” Murray said. “Doing some of the work on the weekend that required closing our drives and parking areas was much less intrusive for our patients.”
Murray gave special thanks to the clinic patients and the clinic physicians and staff for their patience during the construction process.
“The construction is a great inconvenience to our clinic patients and to the doctors and the staff members at our clinic here in Houston, but they have been very supportive and understanding about the work that is taking place,” Murray said.
Murray also noted that some of the current subcontractors have employed Texas County residents as part of their crew.
“It’s great to see the pride that these employees take in working in the community they call home,” Murray said, adding that the contractors are utilizing local businesses for food, gas, sleeping quarters and other things.
“We believe that the expansion of the hospital will provide an additional boost to the economy of Texas County, but some economic benefits of this expansion project are being experienced right now,” Murray said.
When the south parking lot is complete, 88 parking spaces will be available to patients, visitors and staff. Half to two-thirds of the front parking lot will be blocked for construction use, and all of the remaining parking in front of the hospital will be designated for patient and visitor use.
“Our hospital’s safety committee has beefed up the employee parking policy, and we will be enforcing the policy during construction,” Murray explained. “We want to make sure that our patients and visitors have the best available parking spaces.”
Within the next couple of weeks, the physical therapy department and the Auxiliary Gift Shop at TCMH will have their windows boarded up. The canopy at the hospital’s front entrance will be removed.
The hospital’s main entrance will be closed, and a temporary entrance with a covered walkway will be installed at the Mayuga Café, the hospital’s cafeteria.
During the expansion portion of construction, patients can be dropped off at the front temporary entrance or at the back, emergency room entrance of the hospital where wheelchairs and other assistance will be available.
“It will be cumbersome, but we’ll get through it,” Murray said, explaining that hospital personnel are already gearing up to communicate with patients and visitors about routes and parking around the hospital and clinic.
Murray also reported that the hospital’s board of trustees and Texas County Commission will meet one more time when the expansion and renovation are complete to sign the final set of loan documents from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that has made the low-interest loan to TCMH for the project.
“I am looking forward to that day,” Murray said.

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