Archive for Thursday, April 6, 2006

Sewers, roads key in medical plaza pre-planning

April 6, 2006

After announcing plans to build a new expansion in Eudora four months ago, officials from Lawrence Memorial Hospital have met with the city to find out exactly what it's going to take to make the project a reality.

Both Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty and LMH President and Chief Executive Officer Gene Meyer agree the top priority for the project, situated on 21 acres of land south of the Kansas Highway 10 Church Street exit, is identifying infrastructural needs.

"We're still continuing those meetings to adequately assess all the costs involved and the improvements that may be necessary to fully develop the property," Meyer said.

The current concerns for the project fall into two main categories, Beatty said.

"We explained to them the biggest issues were probably the sewer for them and the entry from Church Street," Beatty said.

The meetings come as part of a six-month study to develop a master plan for the site. Once completed to the hospital's satisfaction, the $900,000 purchase would most likely close.

In addition to meetings with the city to hammer out plans for the sewer and street issues, the hospital has been surveying the land, Beatty said.

"I think once we determine some of those things, (the next major development) would be completing the acquisition of the land from the owners, and starting architectural drawings of the building," Meyer said.

The proposed building would sit on the property currently owned by Carl and Norma Kurtz. The property is on the southeast corner of the Church Street exit off K-10 Highway.

"We would be developing a medical office building that would be able to house Dr. (Daniel) Dickerson's practice and future practices that will support the growth in Eudora," Meyer said.

Early conceptualizations for the project released during the December announcement included expanded capabilities for Dickerson's office including an X-ray machine and the possibility of a light trauma ward for after-hours patients.

The plot of land also keeps the doors open for further expansion of the medical complex.

"We have a long standing with relationship with Dr. Dickerson and hopefully we'll see his practice expand," Meyer said.

For the next series of developments, Meyer said he could see the hospital finishing its initial planning to start working on more in-depth architectural designs in the next 60 days.

"Usually a building of this size would probably take 14 to 15 months to build, and probably three or four months to plan," Meyer said.

Since the announcement to purchase land in mid-December, the Kansas Turnpike Authority has announced plans to build an exit near Tonganoxie that would have the potential to divert significant traffic through Eudora.

Although the KTA's plans haven't had any noticeable impact on the hospital's overall plan, Meyer said those focusing on the development were still watching the issue closely.

"By all indications, we still fully expect the continued growth to occur in Eudora and the need for even greater health care services," Meyer said.

If the hospital follows the timeline it's on now, doors could open by spring 2008.

"We're looking forward to it," Meyer said.

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