Plans were unveiled to the general public Thursday for Buena Vista Regional Medical Center's upcoming building project.
The project, estimated at $5.1 million by an outside consultant, will include a women's health center, new lab and rehab areas, a corridor linking the medical center and BV Clinic, and remodeling of the emergency room and admitting areas.
The project blueprint involves 29,400 square feet of new construction and 12,025 square feet of remodeling.
Recently an Omaha-area cost consultant did a cost estimate of the project based on the new architectural plans. That estimate is approximately $5.1 million, which does not include architect fees.
The estimate caused some concern since the project was earlier estimated at $4.6 million. The new estimate plus architect fees would push the project well above the $5.2 million cap the board of trustees put on the project earlier this year.
To start the project now, several portions of the project would need to be removed,
including public restrooms and an auditorium on the north side of the connecting corridor between the medical center and BV Clinic.
However, the $5.2 million cap was based on the $1 million in donations and pledges the BVRMC Foundation had gathered at that time, according to Mike Dewerff, chief financial officer for BVRMC.
The BVRMC Foundation is currently more than half way to its goal of $2 million for the project. If the capitol campaign is successful, no cuts would have to be made to the project. The Foundation expects more donations as the end of the year approaches.
"To ensure that we complete the entire project, we have to be successful in achieving our $2 million goal," said Jim Sinek, CEO of BVRMC.
Area residents volunteering on the capitol campaign team have been working diligently throughout the summer to talk with people about the project.
Sinek said the board wanted to be "as conservative as possible" in setting a cap, which is why they only used what the Foundation had collected in donations and pledges.
"We know the Foundation's goal is $2 million, which they have a good shot at achieving," he said. "But we wanted to use a very conservative number."
The board of trustees voted Thursday to move ahead and develop construction documents, but it will include the restrooms and auditorium in question as an additional bid.
The building project will feature an expanded lab area located southwest of the current emergency room and admitting room area, while the women's health center will be on the south side currently where the hospital gift shop and coffee shop is. Rehab services will be located just to the north, and then a corridor will link BVRMC and BV Clinic.
The auditorium and public restrooms will be included as a bid alternative, Sinek said, which will allow contractors to make additional bids on top of the main building project.
The bid alternative would include ADA accessible restrooms and an auditorium/meeting room, which is needed by the medical center. For large meetings, staff has had to use St. Mark Lutheran Church across the street.
Trustee Glen Huntington made the motion to move on to construction document development, but added a stipulation to review certain functions of the women's health center and some clinical space, as well as to include the auditorium and restrooms as a bid alternative.
"We have to understand what we have before us is an estimate," he said. "The only way to know what the cost is to put it out to people who do this as their business."
Trustee Marcia Schaller abstained from voting, citing concerns with parking access, possible "overbuilding" in some areas, and concern that future growth areas may be locked in by the project.
The board approved moving ahead with construction document development, which will take two to three months, Sinek said. The project should be put out to bid in December, with bids coming back in January.
If bids come back within budget, groundbreaking would be early spring, Sinek said. If bids are higher than expected, January and February will be spent reworking the project so it fits the budget, Sinek said.
Architect Jim Ruble said bids have been competitive for the last six months. "We feel good where the estimate says we are. We want it to be as accurate as it can be because we're going to be working with it," Ruble said.
The entire project is expected to take 20 months.
Also, Sinek gave thanks to the hospital's management team and entire staff for their contributions to the design. "(They've) kept patients in focus in terms of convenience and access of care," he said.