New Libby Hospital Gets Federal Funds

By Beacon Staff

Libby’s St. John’s Lutheran Hospital has received a $32 million loan from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Department to build a new facility.

The new 79,000-square-foot hospital will replace the smaller facility built in 1952 on Louisiana Avenue. Hospital officials hope the new building will open in 2014.

“We are so excited to get this project rolling,” said Steve Sorensen, chairman of the Board of Trustees at St. John’s, in a press release. “The project has been in the works for years now and we are excited to announce that we can finally get some shovels in the ground. In addition to enhanced healthcare services, this project is the economic shot in the arm this community so desperately needs.”

The new facility will include 25 private rooms, an expanded emergency department, larger surgical suites and more recovery rooms. The new facility will be located near the current hospital and remain close to the Libby Care Center and Northwest Community Health Center.

In a press release, Cathy Wolfe, vice president of nursing, said the construction of the new facility would have no effect on patient services currently offered at the hospital. The project is being undertaken by CTA Architects Engineers and Swank Enterprises of Kalispell. Contractors have vowed to hire 20 percent of the workforce from Lincoln County. Sorenson said that will be another boost for the local economy.

“This project is a true community asset and something that we all can be proud of,” said Lora Ercanbrack, chairman of the Foundation at St. John’s. “These are going to be very exciting times for south Lincoln County.”

Ercanbrack is heading up fundraising efforts for the foundation and her goal is to raise $1.5 million to offset any debt from the project. The foundation has currently raised $1.4 million. She said the hospital is constantly looking for people to invest in the project.

“We are finding that community members just want to be a part of this project. Donors want to create their own legacy. They want to be part of history in the making and they want to help make the project a success,” she said.

For more information about St. John’s Lutheran Hospital or to learn how to donate, visit www.sjlh.com.

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