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County Parting Out Old Hospital Equipment: Repurposing Items Might Lead To Savings

Nancy Mayfield | 09/28/2021

With the new Jackson County Regional Health Center up and running, county officials are combing the old facility and earmarking items for potential use in other offices.

Desks, lockers, countertops, filing cabinets, TV monitors, copy machines, an ice machine, message boards, conference tables and chairs, storage racks, serving plates and other kitchen utensils, mattresses, a fairly new furnace, and water softener units. Those are among the hundreds of items at the disposal of county offices and are of particular interest for the planned jail and county extension building projects.

“There’s a tremendous potential to help with the furnishings and a lot of extremely usable items,” said Supervisor Jack Willey at the board of supervisors regular meeting last week. Repurposing those things could help defray costs at a time when building materials are still expensive, after skyrocketing in the wake of the August 2020 derecho.   

“We thought if there were ways to utilize things from the old hospital, that would reduce overhead,” Willey said.

Willey, supervisors Larry McDevitt and Mike Steines, as well as Lisa Smith, county auditor, had already made a pass through the building and labeled items they think may be useful to county offices. They also made plans to visit the site at 700 W. Grove St. with Amber Matthiesen, program coordinator for the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach office in Jackson County; Sheriff Brent Kilburg; and Treasurer Beth Gerlach.

“There are so many things there, and we want to take advantage of it,” Smith said in a phone conversation last week. She said the items are in very good shape, and county officials will think carefully about how they can make the best use of what’s available.

Kilburg said he was looking forward to touring the old hospital to see what is available to  help lower future costs.

Bids for the construction of the new Jackson County Jail, which will be built on the corner of East Maple Street and Jacobsen Drive in Maquoketa, are expected to go out in November with the hope that the cost of construction materials decreases by then, supervisors said. Based on current market conditions, construction costs for that project spiked upwards to about $6.87 million, more than $600,000 above the estimate before the bond referendum for the project last year due to increased demand for lumber and steel and supply chain issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Some items from the old hospital also may be of use in the $2.5 million ag learning hub that is planned for the county fairgrounds. The project will include commercial cooking space, offices, conference space with the latest technology, and more.  

Gerlach will be looking at some specific items for the Jackson County Treasurer’s office. She spoke to the board last week about looking for an alternative to the setup in the public area for that office. The way the current plexiglass barriers are installed at the front counter makes it difficult for employees and customers to hear each other, she said. In addition, both employees and customers knock their hands against the barrier when passing documents back and forth.

Smith said the old hospital has protective barrier plexiglass of all sizes hanging from chains, which is the kind of adjustable system Gerlach prefers. She’ll also look at counters that might better fit her needs and space in the Treasurer’s office.

“We’ll see if we have a good fit or if something can be modified,” Smith said, adding that the barriers in the old building are in a multitude of sizes. “I think that will solve the sound barrier issue.”

Source: www.bellevueheraldleader.com

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