Archive for Wednesday, September 25, 2002

LMH board gives green light to clinic

Hospital officials to negotiate for purchase of land in Tonganoxie

September 25, 2002

It appears the Lawrence Memorial Hospital board of directors is sold on the future of Tonganoxie.

So last Wednesday, board members agreed that LMH officials could negotiate for purchase of land near U.S. Highway 24-40 and Laming Road. There, the Lawrence hospital hopes to construct a clinic for a physician.

Now, Gene Meyer, the hospital's president and CEO, will negotiate with officers of First State Bank and Trust to purchase land near the bank's highway property.

In addition, Meyer will fine-tune financial projections for the clinic. He hopes to bring the issue back to the board for action at its Oct. 16 meeting.

Plans call for staffing the clinic with one physician, who likely would be a new medical school graduate.

"The interest in Tonganoxie on behalf of physicians continues to be there," Meyer said.

In fact, he told the board that two people who will graduate next spring had been in touch with him about the Tonganoxie clinic.

It remains unclear whether the hospital would own the building or whether an as-yet unknown group of investors would construct and own it, Meyer said.

In addition, whether the clinic would be open at night or on weekends would be up to the physician, he said.

"While that would be appealing to commuters, it's awfully expensive," he said.

If the city-owned hospital decides to proceed with the clinic, that will culminate more than two years of discussion about expansion to Tonganoxie, which currently is served by two physicians, both of whom practice in downtown buildings.

One piece of land, northwest of the bank, is priced at $75,000, while another tract with highway frontage is priced at $150,000, according to a memo Meyer wrote to board members.

Meyer envisions a 2,500-square-foot building, which would allow for the addition of a second physician in the future.

If the board agrees, Meyer said he would begin searching for a new physician for Tonganoxie from the graduating residents in 2003.

If land were acquired soon, he said, it's possible the building could be ready in August 2003.

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