WILLIAMSON — The new owners of the Williamson Memorial Hospital approached the Mingo County Commission during its May 4 meeting to request financial assistance.
David Jewell, CFO of Williamson Health and Wellness Center, said he was coming before the commissioners to request up to $1 million in economic development funds to assist with the completion of renovations to the building.
“As you all know, back in October of 2019, Williamson Memorial Hospital Inc. filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy,” Jewell said. “They actually closed their doors in April of 2020. After hearing that Pikeville Medical Center was going to bid on the hospital and close it, the board of Williamson Health and Wellness Center came in at the 11th hour to put in a bid.”
Jewell said Williamson Health and Wellness Center purchased the hospital in bankruptcy court for $3.128 million. He said after the purchase, they began seeing more work was needed on the building than initially thought.
“Our initial project was just going to be to do some exterior renovation and minor interior renovations,” Jewell said. “But shortly after we started renovating, we discovered a problem with the entire sanitary system, so we had to redo the entire sanitary system.”
Jewell said the center has already spent $4 million so far on upgrades. He said they anticipate the total project cost, including the funds used to purchase the facility, will be $9.8 million.
Jewell said these unexpected costs came from the hospital being officially closed and now needed to meet updated safety standards from the state.
“Then a few months later we brought OHFLAC in, which is over the hospitals, and they pretty much said that because of the hospital closing, it was no longer technically an open hospital,” Jewell said. “All of the things that the hospital grandfathered in on were shut down, so the hospital had to be brought back up to current standards. This meant that we were now responsible to replace all the HVAC systems, all the utility systems, redo the fire alarm systems, the sprinkler systems, the fire doors.”
Jewell said the group is hopeful to have the facility completely reopened around Oct. 1, but that this depends on supply chain issues and other issues they have run into since COVID-19.
The Mingo County Commission voted for legal council to take the request under advisement, and asked for more information from Williamson Health and Wellness Center so that the request can be placed on a future agenda.