Archive for Wednesday, September 18, 1991


September 18, 1991


Lawrence Memorial Hospital officials will meet with city representatives early next month to discuss what should be done with the old hospital building.

The city now owns the structure, which was built in 1929 and added onto in 1936 and 1956. The 1929 building is occupied by the Children's Learning Center, the wing added in 1956 is used by the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department and the Douglas County Visiting Nurses Assn. The first floor of the wing built in 1936 is used by LMH for access to its boiler building.

Gould Evans Associates prepared a building analysis for the city regarding the '29 structure and the '36 wing. The architects estimated cost of renovation at $1,837,471, or 68 percent of the cost to construct a new building. The estimated cost of demolition is $325,144.

AT AN LMH board of trustees meeting this morning, Robert Ohlen, executive director of the hospital, said similar studies of the old hospital were done in the '70s. Since then, the building, which was turned over to the city in 1977, has deteriorated more, according to the Gould Evans analysis.

The Gould Evans analysis is based on the assumption that the '29 building and '36 wing would continue to be used as office space, not as a medical facility. Renovating the buildings for medical use would be a multimillion dollar project, Ohlen said.

Ohlen pointed out that demolition of the '29 and '36 structures could present a problem because the '56 wing is braced into the '29 building. Robert Johnson Sr., a trustee, said a decision on what to do with the old hospital is going to depend on its intended use.

"We could pour millions of dollars into this, and we'd still have an old building," Johnson said.

The city is holding a study session on the issue at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 2. Ohlen said he didn't expect that a decision would be reached immediately, based on the fact that nothing has been done since the studies in the '70s.

In other business, the LMH trustees reviewed financial statements for August. In his report, Dennis Strathmann, assistant executive director for finance, said adult admissions recovered somewhat from the low levels experienced in July. Adult admissions totaled 471, which was 15 short of budgeted projections. The average adult length of stay during August was 4.9 days. Year to date, adult patient days are 9.7 percent below projections.

BIRTHS at LMH totaled 76, which was 17 short of budget. Nursery patient days, the length of stay for mothers and their newborn, fell short of budget by 61 days.

Strathmann told trustees that "Our inpatient activity is still lagging seriously behind what we projected, but our outpatient ancillary services are still in good shape."

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