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Demo bids to go out for new medical center

Bids will be advertised Sunday for the demolition of vacant houses on the site that may someday house Lawrence County’s new medical campus.

Ralph Kline, assistant director of the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization, told the Lawrence County Commission Thursday that construction of the actual facility should begin in the spring of 2010.

The medical campus will be built on property near the State Route 141/U.S 52 interchange. There are eight houses on the site.

Demolition of Cooke’s Farm Center will be separate from the houses to allow the business time to relocate to its new site on Third Street near the Ironton Industrial Park.

Kline said there was a delay in getting a stream permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a necessity because a creek that runs through the property will be affected by the construction. Other permits are already in place.

Kline said the project has also gotten $660,000 in federal Capital Improvement Program monies and he has applied for $5.8 million in federal stimulus fund monies as well.

“We should know by Nov. 1 (if the project gets stimulus money),” Kline said.

Meanwhile, work continues on site design.

Commissioner Doug Malone noted that locating a new medical facility in the western end of the county has been six years in the making.

“I’m pretty excited it’s coming around like this,” Malone said.

A year ago, Lawrence County Healthcare Futures, LLC, a consortium that includes St. Mary’s, the CAO, the Lawrence Economic Development Corp., ClearPoint Companies, the Lawrence County Port Authority and other entities, announced plans for a new health care campus in Lawrence County, some six years after the county’s only hospital, River Valley Health Systems, closed its doors.

Under the two-phased plan, an $18 million family medical center with extended urgent care hours would be built first with the possibility of other services added at a later date.