I wanted to take a moment to update the residents of McCurtain County on the status of the new McCurtain Memorial Hospital project. Just as a recap for those who may be new to the area, on November 8, 2022, the voters overwhelmingly approved a 2% increase to the current 3% lodging tax - bringing it to a total of 5%. The 2% increase will service the debt loan on a new hospital.
Site Selection Update: So, as you all know, the site selected for the new hospital is at the Idabel Airport. The county is closing on the purchase of 100+ acres at the site and has committed 20-30 of those acres to the new hospital. We have had a turnover at the Board of County Commissioners with the retirement of Jimmy Westbrook and the replacement of Chris White. I have intentions of speaking to Commissioner Jennings on Monday (tomorrow) to determine where we stand on the closing date. Last update I had, the issues with the abstracts had been resolved by District Attorney Matloff and we were only awaiting a closing. The land purchase was done using funds the county received during COVID.
Financing/ Bonds: The county advised last week that the Floyd Law Firm was working on the issuing of our bonds to begin this project. Tentatively, these bonds could issue in mid-February or early March. It is important to note that the tax will begin being collected in April, will remit to the State in May, then remit back to the county in June - and each month thereafter. The bonds will likely issue prior to the start of collecting the tax as there would be substantial collection of the tax prior to the first payment being due on the loan.
Architect / Contractor: The MMH team, Management Board, Authority Board members and at times, county commissioners, have all participated in interviewing several architects and contractors that have extensive experience in the construction of a new healthcare facility. All involved have resolved to work together on this project and vet out all prospects. It is difficult at this stage, as you can imagine, to select an architect or contractor with no secured funding at this time.
Timeline: In all of our interviews, we have heard that approximately 9-12 months must be set aside for design. Thereafter, we anticipate 18-20 months for construction.
Budget: The budget the county has informed us that we have to work with is $27 million or less. This is not a final number as we have not yet secured the financing. The number could slightly decrease or increase.
Size/Square Footage: We anticipate a 50-55,000 square foot facility.
As we get more into things and have additional information, we will share those. Thank you once again, McCurtain County, for the confidence you placed in us. We are excited about the future of healthcare in this area and you made that possible.
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