Springfield, MO

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Skaggs ready to break ground for new facility

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by Carol Harris

SBJ Contributing Writer

Skaggs Community Health Center plans to break ground within the next couple of months for a new, five-story medical facility and 300-car parking garage.

Skaggs' CEO and administrator Bob Phillips said the 99-bed hospital was granted its application for a Certificate of Need Feb. 2 by the Missouri Health Facilities Review Committee.

Phillips said the 112,000-square-foot building was designed by FDS International of Dallas, Texas.

FDS International will act as general contractor and will use local subcontractors.

Raeanne Presley, chairman of Skaggs' Strategic Planning Committee and Building Task Force, said the new medical facility will have the ambience of a medical mall, a trend among some new medical clinics.

Presley said she and her committee researched other facilities, including a visit to Glenwood Medical Mall, in West Monroe, La., and St. Joseph's Health Center, in Kansas City.

"I saw seniors 'mall walking.' The whole feeling was health instead of disease," she said. "The trend is to emphasize wellness."

Skaggs' officials stressed that the new facility will provide easy access for outpatient services, to be located on the first two floors.

Such services will include a laboratory; radiology and specimen collection; diagnostic services such as EEGs, EKGs and sleep studies; physical, speech, cardiac, pulmonary and occupational rehabilitation; and outpatient surgery.

Phillips said other features of the building will include a new cafeteria, dining room and aquatic exercise pool. "The top three floors will be physicians' offices," he said. Phillips said the hospital plans to use the new facility as an extended-hour clinic, staying open possibly as late as midnight.

Skaggs' officials hope to recruit eight new physicians by July 1999, Phillips said, with the new facility opening for business in late 1999 or early 2000. The yet-unnamed building and four-story garage will be built on 2.8 acres directly north of the existing hospital.

The 30-year-old Paramount Motel, located on the property, will be used for fire training by the Branson Fire Department until the motel undergoes demolition March 9, Phillips said. The $20 million project will be financed in part by monies from the not-for-profit hospital's reserve fund and by the issuance of bonds.

Phillips said that the population of Stone and Taney counties was predicted to grow by 20 percent between 1996 and 2001, and "We want to be prepared to meet our growing community's health care needs."

He added, "We hope this will last 10 years. We have another facility plan on the back burner if that demand does increase."

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