By James Beaty
Plans are moving forward for a new renal dialysis center near the existing campus of the McAlester Regional Health Center — which would double the capability of the current one.
MRHC Chief Executive Officer David Keith spoke of the plans when addressing members of the MRHC Board of Trustees during the board’s Wednesday meeting on the hospital campus.
“It would go from 12 to 24 dialysis units,” Keith said of the increased capability of the proposed new dialysis center, when compared to the current one.
“The minute we double it, it would be 99 percent full,” Keith said. If it becomes necessary to add more units in the future, “We can expand construction down the road,” he said.
Plans are to construct the proposed new dialysis center on several lots across the street from the main hospital entrance on Monroe Avenue.
Keith said the proposed new center would be a joint venture between the hospital and Dr. Jon McCauley.
The McAlester Renal Dialysis Center currently operates in a building on the hospital campus. It’s also a joint venture between the hospital and McCauley, Keith said.
“The hospital and Dr. McCauley entered into the joint venture in 2002,” he said.
Since its opening, the current dialysis center has been a huge benefit to the hospital as well as to the community, and is also a financial success, Keith said.
Keith said the proposed new dialysis center would be a $2.7-to-$3 million project. Plans call for the new building to cover approximately 12,000 square feet, he said.
The hospital currently owns some of the property where the proposed new dialysis center would be built and McCauley owns the rest, Keith said.
“Dr. McCauley would put in 100 percent of his property.” Keith said. “We would have to put in a portion of ours.”
The property would represent the hospital’s investment in the project, according to Keith.
Keith noted the proposed project would still have to be approved by the hospital board, as well as by the city’s Planning Commission and the McAlester City Council. He said he wanted to bring the hospital board up to date on the status of the proposed project.
“We have some zoning issues,” Keith said. In addition, there’s a vacated gas line and a smaller gas line on the property, he said.
“The city’s been really helpful,” Keith said, indicating his next step will be to go before the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission.
McAlester City Manager Pete Stasiak and Mayor Steve Harrison were among those attending the meeting. Stasiak said some of the property designated as H1, which is for health-related facilities, is contiguous to property designated as R1, zoned as residential.
Asked about a timeline for the proposed project, Keith said “if things were perfect,” the first shovel-full of dirt could be turned by March 2014, with plans to have the facility completed by March, 2015.
Contact James Beaty at email@example.com.