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BRITT | Hancock County Health System (HCHS) is moving forward with an extensive remodeling project of its hospital that will include the expansion of its Surgical Services Department as well as updating and increasing the square-footage of its Emergency Department.

In a special HCHS Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 14, the seven-member board unanimously approved moving forward with the project. The decision came after the recent announcement HCHS was successful in securing USDA funding for the estimated $7.4 million project.

USDA will provide a loan up to $6.433 million while the remaining funds will be obtained through local lenders/banks, hospital funds, and fund-raising efforts.

"We are more than thrilled about the growth in services that this renovation will allow us. Meeting the increasing needs of our entire county and area is extremely important to us because we take very seriously our promise of being 'Your Health Care Partner for Life,'" said Laura Zwiefel, CEO/CNO, HCHS.

This project will allow HCHS to:

• Relocate and expand surgical services to the third floor. The project includes building two major operating rooms, two procedure rooms, and four same-day-surgery rooms. "Our goal is to grow our surgery cases and expand to offer new types of surgery, for example orthopedic surgeries of total hips and knees," Zwiefel said.

• Expand emergency department (ED). This expansion will include building two trauma rooms, four private exam rooms, a centralized nursing station, a designated decontamination room, and create a secured unit with locked doors.

Other positive features of this project include:

• Remodeling the main atrium lobby. The current main entrance will remain as such but also become the main entrance for the Emergency Department and the registration point for those coming for outpatient services, including surgery. More seating will be included in this area and it will be staffed 24/7.

• Construction of a new front door/canopy. A new vestibule will replace the current one and create a pull-up canopy outside with heated sidewalks to help with snow removal.

• Relocating Senior Life Solutions (SLS), an outpatient program for people 65 and better who are facing issues common with growing older. The project would relocate SLS from the third floor to the first floor to create easier access in and out of the facility.

HCHS selected Accord as the architectural firm and Henkel as the Construction Manager advisor (CMa). The bidding process will occur in early 2019.

"I personally want to thank our Board of Directors for their continued support of HCHS; the HCHS staff who have completed their due diligence to ensure our organization continues to be strong and viable, and also the outpouring community support from all corners of the county and beyond," Zwiefel said. "We live and work in great communities around the entire county which HCHS has been a part of since 1953. We want to ensure that we remain the provider of choice for all of your health care needs."

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