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Archive for Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hospital touts plan for Eudora property

September 20, 2007

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Lawrence Memorial Hospital's vision for about 20 acres of land it has bought in Eudora involves much more than providing space for new health care operations.

LMH staff members on Wednesday unveiled a proposed master plan that would accommodate 13 new buildings and more than 140,000 square feet of space for everything from doctor's offices to restaurants. The property is on the southeast corner of Church Street and Kansas Highway 10.

"We think it probably will become one of the prime pieces of commercial property in Eudora," said Janice Early-Weas, director of community relations for LMH.

Hospital planners told the LMH Board of Trustees on Wednesday that they had received significant interest from businesses related and unrelated to health care.

Sheryle D'Amico, vice president of regional services for LMH, said dentists, orthodontists, optometrists and drug stores have contacted LMH expressing interest in the site. D'Amico also said banks, restaurants and various service and retail-related businesses also have made inquiries.

LMH wouldn't operate or own those businesses but rather would sell or lease the businesses space on the property. LMH purchased the land in late 2005 to expand the hospital's presence along the busy K-10 corridor.

On Wednesday, D'Amico said the first building for the project would be a new medical office building that would allow the LMH-owned Eudora Family Care practice to expand by at least one and possibly two doctors. The 10,528-square-foot building also will include a physical and occupational therapy practice, and the local drug store operator in Eudora has expressed a strong interest in the building as well, D'Amico said.

The hospital is reserving at least four other building sites for possible health care uses as well. The largest is a site that could accommodate a 22,000-square-foot building that could be used as an "outpatient pavilion," D'Amico said. That building could include services such at CT and MRI imaging machines. D'Amico said the Eudora market probably wouldn't be ready for such a facility for another five to eight years.

The southern portion of the site - which would be the closest to the busy Church Street - would have room for eight buildings that could be used for a variety of retail uses.

The master plan also includes a significant realignment of White Dog Road, which currently runs just south of the site. LMH leaders said they included the new alignment in the plans because state and city leaders had told them it likely would happen in the next five years. Attempts to reach Cheryl Beatty, city administrator for Eudora, were unsuccessful.

LMH board members told staff members to keep moving ahead on the plans. Board members directed hospital executives to begin searching for an architect to design the new medical office building.

In other LMH news, longtime hospital trustee Lindy Eakin completed his final term on the board Wednesday. Eakin, a vice provost at KU, had served on the board for eight years. City commissioners have appointed Dan Lambert, former president of Baker University, to replace Eakin.

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