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Jewell County announces $8 million hospital upgrade in Mankato

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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids, and graduated from Valley Heights High School in May of 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. After stops at KFRM and KCLY radio in Clay Center, he joined KNDY in 2002 as a board operator and play by play announcer. Derek is now responsible for the digital content of Dierking Communications, Inc. six radio stations. In 2005 Derek joined the staff of KCFX radio in Kansas City as a production coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, which airs on over 94 radio stations across 12 Midwest states and growing. In 2018 he became the Studio Coordinator at the Cumulus Kansas City broadcast center for Kansas City Chiefs Football.

Jewell County Hospital has announced that a USDA loan for $8 million has been approved for construction and renovation. The Jewell County Commissioners have approved resolutions to allow bonds to be issued for the project. The bonds will be issued by the Piper Jaffray firm in Leawood, Kan.

BD Construction in Kearney will be the contractor for the project. Architectural design and schematics will be provided by GLMV Architecture in Wichita. The project comes in the milestone 50th year of the hospital providing health care to the citizens of Jewell County. The facility first opened in 1968.

The project will include a new clinic and physical therapy wing in the current front area of the hospital. The new clinic will be a 4,000 square foot addition. Another 3,530 square foot addition adjacent to the clinic will be dedicated to physical therapy. The opposite end of the facility will be a remodeled and expanded emergency department which will include a covered entrance. A new helipad will be installed in the northwest section of the hospital property. Helicopters currently have to land on the street.

Along with the additions, the entire existing facility will be remodeled. There has been need for a new heating and cooling system. New nursing stations will be developed, and most of the patient rooms will have private bathrooms, including showers. The project is expected to take about a year to complete. Hospital officials continue to meet with the architects to discuss and finalize the overall plans. A ground breaking ceremony is planned for the spring.

The announcement comes in step with other health care facility upgrades in the area. Smith County spent $30 million on a new hospital, and Osborne expects to spend $18.6 million on a new facility. Mitchell County Hospital in Beloit undertook a $10 million renovation in the past several years. The project in Jewell County, as with the others, comes with additional benefits aside from new space, amenities, and technology. It also puts them in a stronger and more attractive position to recruit practitioners to the community.

  • The Jewell County Record contributed to this report.

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