Hospital offered to cityPublished 11:55am Wednesday, March 26, 2014
The Hartselle City Council is considering a Huntsville Hospital offer to give the former Hartselle Medical Center building and the property to the city.
Mayor Don Hall said Huntsville Hospital chief executive officer David Spillers made a verbal offer on the facility.
Hall said that Huntsville Hospital is wanting to keep the doctor’s clinic, which is located on the west side of the property and give the property containing the hospital and its parking lot back to the city.
Spillers felt like the city might have a better opportunity to market the building than the hospital.
“We felt it was the best possible option to give the real estate to the city and allow them to market it as they see fit,” Spillers said. “That could be finding a use for it for business or even be bulldozing the building and marketing the land. It’s a piece of prime real estate in the heart of the city.”
Before the city enters into an agreement, city council members wanted to look at ways to make the facility viable.
“I think we need to consider all options, including the cost to tear it down,” said Councilman Ken Doss.
The city’s main problem with the facility is a nearly $37,000 monthly utility and upkeep cost for the facility.
Hall said he considered using the administrative wing as a new home for city hall and then finding a use for the rest of the former hospital.
One option was to go back to Superintendent Vic Wilson about partnering with the school system to use it for educational purposes, including developing a culinary school.
He has also considered talking with business experts at Wallace State Community College to write a functional business plan for the facility.
“But we would need something to make at least $37,000 a month to cover the costs of utilities,” Hall said.
Other council members considered finding ways to lease out the property. One even suggested finding a restaurant to use the cafeteria.
However, Council President Bill Smelser said the facility has been stripped down of most of the equipment inside of it.
“All that is left is just a few beds and some other equipment,” Smelser said. “Most of the equipment that was in it is now at Decatur General (Decatur Morgan Hospital) or at Parkway. I think most of the kitchen equipment from the cafeteria is gone.”
Another drawback to the facility noted by Spillers is the HVAC system.
“The building is not zone for four or five different zones,” Spillers said. “Basically, it would be the most economical to have the entire building filled up because you only have the one HVAC system for the entire facility. If it had different zones, you might could lease out different parts individually, but that’s not the way it’s set up.
Spillers said an appraisal they received for the property with no building on it would be in the range of $200,000 to $250,000.
“I think that probably means that the cost of demolishing the building is probably more than what the property is worth,” said Councilman Tom Chappell. “Otherwise they would have already done that.”
Hall said they will continue to consider all options for the facility agreeing to take on the facility.
“We hoped that we could do something with the facility, but that just didn’t happen,” Spillers said.