Citizen brings hospital use request to HCHD

A local citizen with interest in the old hospital building brought her request before the Hutchinson County Hospital District Board of Directors last Monday evening.Mary Kay Phelan, an employee of ConocoPhillips and Director of High Plains Helping Hands, said there has been interest from churches in the community to start a facility that would house a soup kitchen and shelter. She asked the board if there was a possibility of the add-on portion of the hospital being saved for such usage.Phelan said she would be interested in using the cafeteria for a soup kitchen, and would also like to put a thrift store within the facility as well. She said she knows of some people in the community that are homeless. Phelan has sent people without family to a homeless shelter in the Amarillo area for a fee each time, and she said this was an issue that should be addressed right within the Borger community.“I feel we have a need that we need to fulfill,” she said.She said she would look into funds from the Amarillo Area Foundation and the Harrington Foundation to help with payment for utilities and salaries. Phelan said the foundations would offer dollar-to-dollar matching grants.Board member John Edgington said it would take lots of money to replace the wall between the old part of the facility and the add-on. He also said most of the electrical switches and building mechanicals were in the old part of the building.Phelan said her plan would be to house Helping Hands, a soup kitchen, and a homeless shelter within the facility and also offer out office space to non-profits if they needed it.Dr. Jock Lee, DVM, chairman of the board, asked if there was such a clause in the hospital’s contract to demolish the old facility. Dennis Jack, CEO of Golden Plains Community Hospital, said the entire facility had to be torn down as a whole under the terms of the contract.Charlie Slaton, CEO of Critical Access Healthcare, said the district commissioned engineers to do an analysis of the building, and there is nothing in it that is not completely worn out. He said the costs torefurbish this building would be millions of dollars.“There might be better buildings in town for use than this one,” he said.Phelan asked if the kitchen materials would be available. Dr. Lee said that under the terms of the contract, the hospital would not be able to profit from much of the salvage from the old facility. However, Jack told her it might be possible for her to get in touch with them.After the demolition of the hospital, the hospital district will still own the land, and Dr. Lee said it is possible that a new facility could be instructed. He also said it would be wise to build such a facility from the ground up.“It should be a new fresh facility that is viable,” he said.He said the thoughts of the public should be heard on the matter, and input is always welcome.