IU Health Starke Hospital intends to renew its lease with the county for the current facility. President Craig Felty told the council and commissioners Monday a formal notice will be forthcoming in 30 to 60 days. Right now due diligence is continuing in the proposed acquisition of IU Health Starke and LaPorte Hospitals by Community Health Systems.
“We’re hoping as soon as we sign on the dotted line that we’ll get that capital infusion that we’re expecting. We’re looking for hopefully first, second quarter of ’16 to break ground on the new building, and in the building the first quarter of ’17.”
The current lease between IU Health and the county for the hospital site is up in September of 2016. The agreement requires the hospital to give the county a six-month notice as to its intentions. Felty says they won’t wait until March to make things official. He says the formal notice will include a clause to allow for the construction of a new building between the existing hospital and medical office building and removal of the old one once the new structure is finished. Plans call for that area to be turned into parking.
Felty says he wants to make sure the deal with CHS gets done before giving the county a formal notice, but stresses officials have no intentions of going anywhere else.
Right now the design of the new hospital is being finalized. IU Health Starke Hospital recently hosted tours of a full-size cardboard mock-up of half of the facility to give associates and members of the public an idea of how it would be laid out. Felty says the other half will be built next month and similar tours will be offered.