Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013
Government Shutdown Delays New Pinckneyville Hospital
PERRY COUNTY -- A new hospital for Pinckneyville may have to wait a little longer.
Less than 24 hours after a ceremonial groundbreaking on September 30, the federal government came to a standstill.
"It was frustrating," said Pinckneyville Community Hospital CEO Tom Hudgins.
A loan for the $30 million project is coming through the USDA. When Hudgins called his contact at the agency last week, he learned the office was closing.
"She indicated that their instructions were as of noon to turn off the lights, lock the doors, and go home until their called," said Hudgins.
A closed office is bad news for a hospital collecting the final paperwork to send into the agency.
"It's probably pushed the completion date out a couple of months," said Hudgins.
It's also discouraging for staff and a board excited about upgrading from an aging facility. The new hospital will be a modern building set on a 30-acre site east of town.
One of the major beginning steps for the project is pouring lots of concrete for the hospital foundation. However, each week that there's a delay, pushes the project closer to winter. It could become too cold to do concrete work.
"It's just going to depend on how long it takes it to cure it and what the weather looks like," said Hudgins.
Another concern is if the shutdown continues for awhile, the cost of building materials could rise. The good news there is the project is under budget. The hospital does have some money to help cover the possible extra expense.
Hudgins now hopes to send in all the documents the USDA needs as soon as the shutdown ends.
"We're going to be ready when they turn the lights back on," said Hudgins.
He's also focused on getting the dirt moving. The new hospital has been in the works for more than 10 years.
"We've had enough bumps in the road with this that we'll deal with this and keep going," said Hudgins.
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Humidity: 93 %