KDMC project tab now at $14.3M

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, September 8, 2009

It has to be perfect.

The price of the long-running expansion and renovation projectat King’s Daughters Medical Center has run over budget and overtime, prompting the Mississippi State Department of Health toapprove a certificate of need for almost $3 million, taking thecost of the project from slightly less than $12 million to $14.3million.

KDMC Chief Executive Officer Alvin Hoover said the project -which has thus far added state-of-the-art emergency and intensivecare departments, upgraded technology and seen widespreadrenovations – ran into snags along the way that have pushed itsprice tag up and its completion date back nine months. But much ofthe overrun, he said, was due to improvements approved on the flyto make sure the hospital was modernized as much as possible.

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“We’re getting what we want out of the project, absolutely,”Hoover said.

Hoover said the best example of improvements running the projectover budget is the Labor Delivery Recovery Post-Partum (LDRP)department, where original renovation plans called only for newwallpaper and floors. Hospital administrators scrapped that planand went all out, completely renovating the rooms and bathrooms andadding all new technology and amenities.

Likewise, Hoover said the new emergency department was beefed upwith the addition of radiology equipment, and new bed locators -which house nurse call devices and additional electronic outlets -were installed throughout renovated rooms.

“As we saw rooms, we made them better,” he said. “(The costoverrun) was the cost of trying to make this a project that wouldlast us another 15-20 years without having to redo anything.”

Some of the costs, however, were unplanned.

Hoover said some rooms in the new emergency department had to bemoved, torn down and converted to reroute a hallway, which led tomore work on the heating, ventilation and air conditioning andwiring systems.

Also, the longer the project goes, the more the interestpayments on the hospital’s USDA loan. The project was supposed tobe completed in March 2009, but is now scheduled for completion bylate December, Hoover said.

“No matter how good your architect is, a lot has changed since1964,” he said. “You don’t know what’s behind a wall until you tearit down.”