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Committee narrows down list of possible sites for new hospital

May 01, 2002|BY LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

A committee has narrowed down a list of possible sites for a new Washington County Hospital and plans to recommend its final choice in June.

Washington County Health System President and Chief Executive Officer James Hamill would not identify the sites, but he said Tuesday that locations both inside and outside the city of Hagers-town are still on the table.

The group reviewed 13 sites, some of which were suggested to them by people in the community, Hamill said.

About half were eliminated because they either were not available or did not meet the criteria the committee set, he said.

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"I'm very pleased with the selection of sites we're considering," he said.

Criteria include everything from availability of utilities to easy access by patients and staff.

"It's a very involved and complex process," Hamill said.

The size of the site is variable. A hospital could be built on as little as 15 acres in the city's downtown core. An open site on undeveloped land probably would take up about 65 acres, he said.

The committee evaluating the proposals has been meeting every other week, Hamill said.

The hospital does not want to reveal the possible locations for fear that could drive up the cost of acquiring land.

Choosing a site does not guarantee that a new hospital will be built.

The Health System's board of directors hasn't yet voted to move forward with the project.

Hamill has said construction would take about three years and the current hospital would probably be demolished.

A new hospital would be more efficient, would address space constraints and would allow the Health System to implement new medical technology and equipment, he has said.

Hagerstown city leaders have proposed several sites in downtown Hagerstown.

Mayor William M. Breichner has said losing the hospital would be a drain on the city.

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