This image shows an aerial view example of new medical center in the master plan.

Petersburg Medical Center has finished a master plan for a new hospital in town. They know the options for where a hospital could be built and how much it would cost. So, what’s next in the process? KFSK’s Angela Denning reports:

Petersburg Medical Center is one of the busiest places in town, employing about 120 people. Yet, parts of the facility were built in the 1950s and aren’t up to standards. For example, the plumbing is hard to fix because the building sits right on the ground.

According to a 2015 study, the building needs replacing. A master plan, completed last month, looks at that possibility. It compiles all the information from the past and mixes it with outlooks of future needs.

PMC’s CEO, Phil Hofstetter says the main next step is community feedback.

“For anything to happen with the facility as a community hospital we need community feedback on that,” Hofstetter said.

They’ve held some community meetings or what PMC calls community cafes and Hofstetter says they’ve had some responses already.

“What we heard—there was about 75 people that attended—and most of the questions on the forums were about location,” he said.

Possible locations in the master plan for a new medical center show green field sites away from current downtown location are cheaper and allow for more design options.

The plan calls for building the facility on a new site away from the downtown area because it would be cheaper and allow for more design options. There are a few different proposed locations in the plan.

The total price tag for building away from the current site is $92 million. That includes everything from site preparation, architectural design, to what goes inside the facility. The medical equipment and furniture add up to about 24 percent of the total cost. Hofstetter says you can’t cut corners with required equipment.

“All of the regulations [are] not getting any cheaper,” he said. “They just add more and more regulations attached to it and there’s just no way around that.”

One example of a floor plan for a new medical center in the master plan.

He says although the price tag might be shocking, it’s not surprising.

“It was always going to be higher than what the community and the hospital can actually afford and that means that without federal or state assistance either through grants or programs, we’re not going to be able to get a new facility, even a renovated facility,” said Hofstetter.

PMC will now use the master plan to go after potential funding through grants. Hofstetter says the project won’t be funded all at once but will happen in phases.

“You’re not going for funding for $92 million,” he said. “You’re going for funding to complete the next phase.”

In the meantime, Hofstetter says they’ll seek community feedback to further evaluate potential sites and containing costs.

“How can we trim that down? And how can we contain costs?” Hofstetter said. “And so the exercise in the next phase is really to hone in on those areas and see what we can reduce.”

There is no future deadline for the project until funding is secured.