The Commerce Journal

August 12, 2013

New outpatient facility planned for Commerce

By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — Two new freestanding outpatient facilities and a completely renovated third floor of the Hunt Regional Medical Center could be in store for Hunt County if residents are willing to vote for them in a special bond election on Nov. 5.

The Hunt Memorial Hospital District Board is asking for a $12.3 million bond to complete all three tasks.

Commerce will get a new $5 million outpatient facility, and a similar one, which will cost approximately $4.5 million, will be added to the current medical pavilion in Quinlan, if the bond passes.

The third floor of the Hunt Regional Medical Center will cost an estimated $2.7 million to renovate.

If the bond is passed, it will be paid over a 20 year period and will increase the tax rate by .0181 cents.  

According to a recent study, the average household value for 2012 was $97,016. So the average increase in taxes per year would be $17.56 if passed.

According to Richard Carter, chief executive officer for the Hunt Memorial Hospital District Administration, Hunt County residents will see the need for these projects.

“Constructing the new facility we think will greatly benefit the community,” he said.

The Commerce facility is planned to be close to 19,000 square feet and include five emergency beds, one trauma bed, four observation rooms and a helipad.

Construction on the facility would begin in late spring or early summer of 2014 with a construction time of eight months.

John Heatherly, assistant administrator at Hunt Regional Healthcare, said that Texas A&M University-Commerce is backing the facility, and is planning on giving the land to the hospital after getting approval from the Texas A&M University Board of Regents.

“They recognize the benefit to the students and community,” Heatherly said.

The board is looking at three different parcels of land south of Whitley Residence Hall and the Commerce Walmart along Highway 24/50.

The new facility would open the same day as the old Commerce facility on 2900 Sterling Hart Drive closes, so there would be no overlap in expenses and no lack of patient care in Commerce. The building is also planned with future expansion in mind.

“We build for expansion now, which is a lot less expensive in the long run,” he said, adding the facility can be added to from all sides except the entrance.

Quinlan’s facility is a little over 15,600 square feet and would be added on to the current medical pavilion along Highway 226.

The facility would include most of the amenities the Commerce facility has including a helipad. Construction on that facility would begin three to four months into the construction of the Commerce facility.

“We want to begin building the one in Commerce first, then work on the one in Quinlan,” he said, adding that much of the newer equipment from the old Commerce facility would be moved to Quinlan.

The renovation of the third floor in Hunt Regional Medical Center has been needed for some time, according to Carter.

“It has been a strategic plan for awhile,” he said.

Among the renovations to the third floor would be increased room size, a decrease in rooms to 22 and new equipment for each room.

The bond will be on the Nov. 5 election ballot with early voting from Oct. 21 through Nov. 1.