Local hospital districts awarded grants

by jennifer butler

Wyoming Secretary of State and member of the Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board, Max Maxfield, was impressed by the dedication and effort that was presented by the South Big Horn County Hospital Board and community members in their efforts to obtain grant funding from the SLIB last week.

Board Chairman Diana Elliot, hospital administrator Jackie Claudson, Dr. Dusty Hill, Big Horn County Commissioners Keith Grant and Jerry Ewen, and Grants Writer Linda Harp were all in attendance. On behalf of the hospital, Harp and Grant, lobbied for the grant approval the day before the hearing.

After several attempts and grant applications submitted to the SLIB board, the South Big Horn Hospital District was finally awarded a $2 million grant that will be used for the renovation and reconstruction of the emergency room, mechanical room and hospital. Claudson in an interview this week said they were also approved for the US Department of Agriculture loan for $2.9 million, and received a Big Horn County Consensus Block Grant for $150,000. The hospital district also funded $1 million to the project.

Maxfield said that the hospital project was not recommended to receive the grant, but Hill and the group made commanding arguments to fund the project.  He added the hospital’s other contributions and funding helped persuade the board. Maxfield said Representative Elaine Harvey also had been a strong advocate for this project.

Claudson said Hill was instrumental in letting the board know what the community needed in regards to health care.

The next step will be for the hospital to begin working on plans with the architect group, Plan One Architect, out of Cody. Claudson said the plan is to first build the new portions of the hospital and demolition would occur after completion.

Harp said “We are thrilled that we are going to have a new hospital. It is a great project, and it will greatly benefit the community.”

North Big Horn Hospital was awarded a planning grant from the SLIB board for the amount of $147,459. The grant is for planning and design of an addition to the medical clinic in Lovell.

Maxfield said he sees the need for the upgrade in the North Big Horn Hospital. He has been at the facility and has been following the project, and plans to continue the following the progress.