February 3, 2009
Tim Pratt -
STARKVILLE -- The Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors is looking into hiring a financial adviser to assist with the upcoming $27.5 Oktibbeha County Hospital bond issue.
While the board already has hired a bond attorney to deal with the hospital''s massive renovation and expansion project, supervisors on Monday unanimously decided to request proposals from financial consultants and advisers. Representatives from Jackson-based Government Consultants, Inc. were at the supervisor meeting to offer their services, but the board reached a 2-2 stalemate when it voted on whether or not to hire the group. Supervisors John Young and Daniel Jackson voted in favor of Government Consultants while Orlando Trainer and Marvel Howard were opposed. Carl Clardy missed the meeting due to illness.
The board then agreed to request proposals from additional consultants.
"I''d like to include as many people as we can in every phase of the hospital building," Trainer said. "I know the citizens have already spoken, but I''d like to make sure that on each phase of this construction, other people have the opportunity to participate."
"I would like the board to take (Government Consultants Inc.''s) proposal under consideration and see if there are any other proposals out there, and then compare the proposals so we can get the most of it," Trainer added.
The hospital renovations are a long time in the making. Patient rooms are more than three decades old and have been described by visitors as cramped and crowded.
As part of the renovations, every three patient rooms would be combined into two. As a result, the rooms would increase from 100 square feet to 150.
Additional patient rooms would be located in a new tower the hospital plans to build to make up for the rooms lost in the expansion.
Among other improvements, the hospital would renovate its birthing suites and, when complete, the facility would feature a state-of-the-art Caesarian section suite and recovery area. Patients also would encounter a brand new newborn nursery and viewing area, enlarged nurse stations and patient triage and observation rooms.
Not all of the improvements, however, would take place inside the hospital.
There would be a new covered drop-off and pickup area for patients and families; new elevators and restrooms, comfortable waiting spaces and new parking decks to make up for spaces lost due to construction.
Although 61 percent of Oktibbeha County voters in November favored issuing up to $27.5 million in bonds to pay for the improvements, supervisors still have to vote on whether or not to issue bonds, and for what amount.