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County seeks next steps on bonds, engineer clears site

The Board of County Commissioners are wasting no time in the next steps following Tuesday's overwhelming support to increase the lodging tax as means to fund the construction of a new Hospital in McCurtain County. CEO Brian Whitfield spoke with Commissioners Jimmy Westbrook and Mark Jennings on Wednesday, November 9, and received word that the commissioners were awaiting a call from the law firm who drafted the ballot measure on next steps to get bonds issued.

In those calls, both commissioners confirmed that District Attorney Mark Matloff was reviewing the abstracts for the proposed land at Brinkley Airport and once complete, the county would be finalizing the purchase and, 'writing a check,' Mr. Westbrook said.

The proposed location has also been vetted for sewage and water infrastructure according to Mr. Jennings. An engineer with the City of Idabel has reviewed and confirmed that water and sewage are of no concern at the location and this was supported, Jennings said, by Idabel mayor, Craig Young.

Lastly, Mr. Jennings said that all preliminary vetting supports the location from an FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) standpoint. Mr. Jennings noted, too, hospitals are constructed elsewhere in Oklahoma near airports, pointing out Atoka as an example.

Mr. Westbrook said the county will move forward as soon as the abstracts are ready and the purchase is finalized with breaking ground.

The Hospital Authority Board engaged an architectural firm and project management firm from Texas for a limited engagement to provide a floor plan and prospective concept of the building - and a budget, respectively. The concept, shared below, is just that - a concept. The vision is for am50-60,000 square foot facility at the airport location. The preliminary budget is between $25-$30 million.

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