Hospital receives #036;4.6 million

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 3, 2005

Long-awaited renovations to the Crenshaw Community Hospital are a go, according to hospital administrator Jim McKnight.

Recently, a delegation representing Crenshaw County traveled to the Kellogg Center at Tuskegee Institute where they were personally presented with guaranteed and direct loan checks totaling $4.6 million by the Secretary of the US Department of Agriculture, Mike Johanns.

The funds will be used to completely renovate and modernize Crenshaw Community Hospital.

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"The Crenshaw County Healthcare Authority was able to leverage these loan guarantees to obtain a mortgage rate of just over four percent," said McKnight. "The combination of the guaranteed loan, the direct loan and the red leg loan obtained in conjunction with the South Alabama CO-OP lowered the finance rate to almost four percent thereby saving a million dollars in financing cost over the life of the loan."

McKnight anticipates holding an official groundbreaking ceremony for the new construction within the month. He also said construction would start soon after, no later than Nov. 1. Completion of all renovation and expansion, said McKnight, should be completed in 14 months.

McKnight said the hospital has already started refurbishing patient rooms. The $4.6 million allows the hospital to proceed with the next phases of construction, which includes the building of a brand new emergency room and the expansion of the front administrative and waiting area. Upgrades to existing operating rooms will allow for the performance of additional surgical procedures, said McKnight.

"We want to restore people's confidence in the facility," said McKnight. "One our biggest challenges is to stop something that I call out-migration, where people are leaving the county to receive healthcare. They shouldn't have to do that."

A rooftop addition will make the facility more prominent from US 331, he said.

"As it is right now, the building's short," he said. "If we were up on a hill that wouldn't be a problem. But we want to be seen."

"This is a great day for the hospital in Crenshaw County," said Jacques Jarry, CEO of In-Med, who manages Crenshaw Community Hospital.

"The hospital board should be commended for their stewardship in securing these loans and for their creativeness in combining the different loans to lower the interest rates."