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The new Spotsylvania hospital will be late in opening and cost more than expected
BY JIM HALL
The new Spotsylvania County hospital will take longer to build and cost more than expected.
Officials of HCA Inc. said yesterday that their new Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center will not open next year, as they have long predicted. Instead, they now expect it to open by June 2010.
Also, because of the construction delay and rising fuel costs, the hospital is expected to cost $175 million, up from the original estimate of $150 million.
"Fuel costs are impacting us pretty much in every area," said Timothy Tobin, chief executive officer of the new hospital.
HCA will report these changes to the state in an annual update, due by the end of the week.
HCA and MediCorp Health System received state permits for new hospitals on the same day: Aug. 25, 2006. One started construction soon after that; the other did not.
MediCorp had the groundbreaking for its Stafford Hospital Center in October 2006. It expects to open the 100-bed hospital near the county courthouse early next year.
HCA waited 20 months, until April 2008, for its groundbreaking. Completion of its 126-bed hospital will take another 20 months.
Company officials blame the delay on a combination of factors:
Trouble buying a key parcel at the site. The owner of the land and then the trustee died. The hospital is being built at the intersection of Interstate 95 and U.S. 17 at Massaponax.
Unexpected environmental regulations. Once work started, an endangered plant was discovered on the property.
Psychiatric beds. When it issued the permit, the state required that the hospital have psychiatric beds. HCA had not anticipated this and had to redraw the plans.
Sale of the company. The Nashville-based company was bought out and taken private during the approval period. However, company officials discount the effect this had on the Spotsylvania project.
Despite the delays, construction of the hospital is now under way. The footers have been poured and the storm-drainage system is being built. A tower crane is visible from across the interstate.
Spotsylvania Supervisor Gary Skinner, who represents the Lee Hill District, said yesterday that he is not concerned about the delayed opening.
"I'm sure we'd love to have it open sooner," Skinner said. "I'm just still very happy that they can bring it here, even if it's a six-month delay."
Jim Hall: 540/374-5433