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Friday, April 18, 2014

Greensburg hospital done

BY KAREN SHIDELER
The Wichita Eagle

Greensburg's $25 million hospital is opening its doors to the public today, not quite three years after a tornado leveled the old Kiowa County Memorial Hospital and much of the rest of the town.

The new hospital, designed by Wichita's Health Facilities Group, is built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — LEED — Platinum standards.

The certification process isn't complete. If certified, the hospital would be the first critical-access hospital with the LEED Platinum designation, said hospital administrator Mary Sweet. A critical-access hospital is a smaller rural hospital.

Project manager Tim Dudte of Health Facilities Group said designing a hospital to LEED Platinum standards "meant looking at every aspect of the project from a new perspective."

Each was examined for "how would it impact the environment, how would it impact the energy efficiency, how would it impact return on investment," he said.

"We did a lot of life-cycle cost analysis on the project," he said. "We always do some of that, but in this case, really, almost every element of the building was looked at from a new, fresh perspective.

"We didn't rely on past design ideas for systems and materials. We looked at everything we needed to do, from a blank sheet of paper, and how would it affect this project differently."

Because no small hospital had been built to LEED Platinum standards, there was no prototype — but, Dudte said, others have toured the Greensburg hospital to "see whether it would be applicable for their projects."

The new Kiowa County Memorial Hospital has about 50,000 square feet — about 40,000 on the main level and 10,000 in the basement. The basement includes a FEMA 361-certified safe room, Dudte said.

Murray Co. of Overland Park was the construction manager.

Sweet said the hospital has 10 patient rooms — five private and five semiprivate, for a total of 15 beds. The old hospital was licensed for 25 acute-care beds, but the census was never high enough to use all the beds.

The hospital has about 75 employees, down from pre-tornado staffing levels, mostly because of attrition. "I think 75 probably will be about the right number," Sweet said. Employees have been added for an expanded laundry and to staff a day care center for employees' children.

Dudte said building to LEED Platinum standards means the hospital will cost about 40 percent less to operate.

"It's going to significantly impact the local environmental conditions in Greensburg," he said.

"We're only going to use about half the water an ordinary hospital will require." The chiller is twice as efficient as the next-best one on the market, he said, the load on the sewer system will be significantly less, the indoor air quality will be better and the landscaping will be self-sustaining without irrigation after the first year or so. Much of the energy will be provided by an on-site wind turbine.

Reach Karen Shideler at 316-268-6674 or kshideler@wichitaeagle.com.

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