City hears upgrade plans for new hospital

The Sabetha City Commission met at 6 p.m. Monday, May 23, at Sabetha City Hall. Present for the meeting were acting Mayor Maridel Wittmer, commissioners Norm Schmitt, Nick Aberle and Julie Burenheide, Assistant City Administrator Bill Shroyer, and City Clerk Steve Compo. Guests present were Chris Kroll, Jason Enneking, Josh Aberle and Sabetha Community Hospital CEO Dr. James Longabaugh. Not present were City Administrator Doug Allen and Mayor Cody Bletscher.

This picture shows the new hospital to be located just south of the current building, which was approved by the Sabetha Hospital Board.

Dr. Longabaugh was present to discuss the plans to construct a new hospital directly to the south of the current location. Dr. Longabaugh took on the role of Sabetha Community Hospital CEO in January 2022 and since has been working on receiving approval from the hospital board to construct a new hospital. Recently, the hospital board consisting of Lavon Wenger, Bill Simpson, Norm Schmitt, Martha Montgomery, Scott Krebs and Ed Strahm has approved the approximately $38 million project.

“I am here to introduce an overview of a plan that the hospital plan that the board has approved,” Dr. Longabaugh said. “This is fairly recent, and I know there is a little bit of public knowledge that this is in the works, but this is the official launch of any specific public information about this project.”

Dr. Longabaugh said the reason for constructing a new hospital is because the current hospital, as well as Sabetha Family Practice, has “outgrown their current facilities.”

“This is a good problem to have,” Dr. Longabaugh said.

Main takeaways from the presentation are as follows:

• The current hospital – constructed in 2003 – will still be used but for sports medicine, IT, Mental Health services and daycare for hospital staff.

• The old hospital – constructed in 1910 – is currently being used for physical therapy, kitchen, administrative services, cardiac rehab and outpatient clinics. However, according to Dr. Longabaugh, the facility has “served its purpose very well,” but is inefficient and will be torn down.

• The newer structure will be constructed just to the south of the current facility, which is on land partially owned by the hospital and the City of Sabetha. The hospital is hoping to build where the current city building sits that houses city trucks, the gas station and more.

• The newer facility would include a larger surgery area, as well as larger RX/Radiology/Laboratory service area, OB area and a physical therapy area.

• The new facility also would house a new outpatient area for the outpatient providers who come to Sabetha Community Hospital, as well as Sabetha Family Practice.

• There are parties interested in the current Sabetha Family Practice structure.

• The hospital is hoping to utilize revenue bonds to finance approximately $30 million and fundraise the remaining approximate $8 million.

After the presentation, the commission asked multiple questions regarding the project, including what would happen with the current city building, where a new facility would be built for city use and the cost of a new city building.

Dr. Longabaugh plans to come back and present to a full commission soon.

Also at the meeting:

The commissioners approved the minutes from the Monday, May 9, meeting.

The commissioners approved Wage Resolution No. 2022-14 for John Barnes-Tijerina in the electrical department.

The commissioners approved Wage Resolution No. 2022-15 for the orientation period for Dennis Entrikin at the police department.

The commissioners approved the following board and municipal appointments: Steve Compo, City Clerk; Robert Wahwasuck, Police Chief; Jim Johnson, Fire Chief; David Herbster, City Treasurer; Martin Mishler, City Attorney; Scott Anson, Municipal Judge; EMS Director; re-appoint Greg Mock, Dennis Stones and Jerre Lauer, Cemetery Board; re-appoint Linda Hopp, Library Board; appoint Emily Plattner for Kim Aberle, Library Board; appoint Glen Arnold for Nancy Flentie, Library Board; and re-appoint David Koch and Mark Schurter, Planning and Zoning Commission. The Planning and Zoning Commission is still short one position.

The commissioners approved the contract with Ransom Financial for COVID-19 monies. This contract is for Ransom Financial to assist the city in the completion of all paperwork associated with COVID-19 monies. The fee for Ransom Financial is not to exceed $5,000. The city was previously approved for approximately $400,000, which the city discussed to use toward sewer improvements.

The commission will meet again at 6 p.m. Monday, June 13, at City Hall.

Heather Stewart226 Posts

Heather Stewart is a reporter for The Sabetha Herald, where she has been on staff since 2015. She specializes in court and sports reporting, as well as photography. Heather is a 2011 Kansas State University graduate with a degree in psychology. She lives in Sabetha with her husband.

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