Plans for a New Hospital in Jackson County May Be Coming Soon

By: Heather Waliga
By: Heather Waliga

The current Jackson County hospital isn't even 25 years old, but administrators say they’re running out of space.

Rooms are too small to fit all the equipment needed to treat patients. Hospital administrators have already exchanged patient space for equipment space, and they say with population growth, these quick fixes just won't cut it.

"There are some solutions that we can put into place between now and when a new hospital would be completed, but these are really short term fixes and not intended to be long-term solutions," said Jackson Hospital administrator David Hample.

Hample says building an entirely new hospital could be the answer.

Officials estimate renovations to the current building would cost around $53 million and six years of construction.

A total new facility would cost about $55 million and only two years to finish.

That's a plus for the Jackson Chamber of Commerce, which just completed a survey of its membership.

"An issue to do nothing isn't really an option. You move ahead or you fall behind," said Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Chairman Chuck Hudson.

But money won't come easy. Officials say the hospital could come up with about half of the money for a new facility. They'll need the county's help for the rest.

The commission would have to call for a half-cent sales tax increase to help cover the cost.

"No one likes taxes, but what I understand is that it will require assistance from someone and I think that's the fairest way to arrange it," said Hudson.

Hample plans to put the issue before the county commission by December, hoping for a decision by early spring.

The potential site for the new hospital is located by Interstate 10 and Highway 276.

There are no decisions on what the old hospital will be used for, but Hample says he's talked with a group that wants to turn the building into a senior retirement center.

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