May 30—Daviess Community Hospital is moving a pair of construction projects forward that are slated to begin this fall. The hospital will be doing a multi-million-dollar project that would expand the emergency department, relocate the intensive care unit to the second floor and do some improvements to the med-surg area on the second floor. In addition, DCH is working on a new ambulance facility to house its vehicles and personnel.
With all of that work, the hospital has floated an idea to close down part of 14th Street.
"Their project is in the early stages and I think they just threw that out there as a possibility," said Washington Mayor David Rhoads. "When I first got the proposal, I wasn't very excited about doing it. It's such a busy road through there."
Closing the street would give the hospital a way to create more of a campus feel and make way for the possibility of additional expansion in the future.
"I understand what they are trying to do — to give it a campus type feel. We talked about that and what would that look like," said Rhoads.
Hospital officials say that they held the talks but have decided not to close the street now.
"We are not going to do that right now because we would not gain a lot by doing that," said Conroy.
Still, ideas like closing the street are expected to pop up in the future and the mayor thinks there could be the possibility of changes to traffic in that area in the future.
"They own property over to 15th Street. I think they would have to widen and improve 15th. If we did it, it would have to be a tradeoff to take care of that," said Rhoads. "There are even some possibilities that there could be some changes to Bedford Road at the hospital."
For now the idea of closing 14th Street is off the table, and the hospital is putting the paper and the money together for the projects.
"It's moving along. We are still meeting weekly. We are still expecting to begin in the fall," said Conroy about the main expansion project. "There is just a lot of paperwork and planning to be done. We are just trying to finalize the details."
"We are still in the discovery phase," said DCH COO Keith Miller about the proposed ambulance facility. "We are still working on what exactly we want and how much it is going to cost. Right now, we are moving a lot of paper."