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KDMC receives $9M loan toward renovation plans

A King’s Daughters Medical Center expansion and renovation movedanother step ahead Thursday with the presentation of a $9 millionUSDA Rural Development loan to be used toward the approximately $11million project.

Phillip Grady, KDMC’s chief executive officer, told astanding-room-only Crowley Room audience it was an “exciting day”for the hospital and the community. He said the hospital has anover 90-year history in the community and a 40-plus yearpartnership with Lincoln County, which received the funds for useby the hospital.

“We have, through the years, had a vision of improving thehospital and making it bigger,” Grady said about the hospital’sadministration, the Willing Hearts Circle and the hospital’s boardof trustees.

Grady said the project will focus on the hospital’s emergencyroom, intensive care unit and patient rooms. Other aspects of theproject include a sprinkler system for fire suppression to thesecond and third floors, a new pharmacy and a helipad.

The loan approval followed on the heels of a visit by stateRural Development Director Nick Walters earlier this year. He saidMississippi benefited from other states’ unused USDA federal fundsand congressional assistance from U.S. Sens. Trent Lott and ThadCochran and Third District U.S. Chip Pickering.

“There are not a whole lot of times where you show up and sixmonths later get a $9 million check,” Walters said. “And y’alldidn’t think government moved too quickly.”

Despite a public perception that agricultural funding andhospitals don’t go together, Walters said projects like KDMC’s fitin well with President Bush’s goals to improve small communities.He said areas of emphasis are economic development and K-12schools.

“We’re trying to do more and more,” Walters said.

Pickering echoed Walters’ comments, saying more people areseeking out small communities to do business and raise theirfamilies. He said hospitals and schools are “key investments” andhe could think of no better way to use funds.

“It is a testament to this community what this place has done,”Pickering said of the hospital’s success and local support.

Bobby J. Watts, District Two supervisor and president of theboard, applauded the cooperation between hospital and countyleadership.

“This is a wonderful thing here and the board is proud to be apart of it,” Watts said.

Still needed for the project to move forward is a certificate ofneed from the state Department of Health. Grady said the hospital’sapplication was deemed complete in July.

“We hope to hear something by the middle of September,” Gradysaid of CON approval.

The CEO was optimistic about the CON’s approval. After the CONis received, Grady said more detailed architect drawings will bedone.

“I’m hoping we can break ground probably in January,” Gradysaid.

Architect Scott Eddy said the hospital was looking at a 16-monthconstruction period to be done in seven phases. He said some phasecould be combined, but the nature of hospital activities dictatedthat approach.

“We’re having to do this in multiple stages to minimize theimpact and inconvenience on the hospital,” Eddy said.

Audience members also hailed the importance of the project andits benefits. Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of CommercePresident Lavelle Sullivan said it will be “fantastic” for thecommunity.

“This will improve the level of health care and certainly bebeneficial for prospective industry,” Sullivan said.

Chamber Executive Vice President Cliff Brumfield citedsupervisors’ contributions toward the new business park, road andbridge improvements and other economic development efforts.

“The community owes a huge debt of gratitude to the board ofsupervisors for working so quickly to assist the hospital in thisproject,” Brumfield said.