By Jim Misunas
LARNED — Work on the Pawnee Valley Community Hospital is progressing quite nicely.
Work crews directed by Commercial Builders, Inc. of Hays stripped the metal roof at the Pawnee Valley Clinic Monday. A new roof that will match the new hospital building will be installed.
The $18.3 million hospital is constructed with funding from Medicare reimbursement, profit from Pawnee Valley Community Hospital, a 1 percent sales tax and an annual 6-mill county-wide healthcare levy.
The local work crews are under the direction of Superintendent Lance Routledge of Commercial Builders. Rick Summers, part owner and Commercial Builders vice president is also working in Larned.
The company bid successfully for various jobs at the Pawnee Valley Community Hospital for Murray Company. The company is a general contractor that builds homes and works construction on various projects.
Commercial Builders currently also has ongoing projects in Hays, Phillipsburg and Scott City.
“We’re working to get the Pawnee Valley clinic roof ready,” he said. “We’ve got to take the steel roofing off and prepare the roof by framing and sheeting it and installing plywood.”
The Commercial Builders crews will work on various aspects at the hospital over the next year. They’ve hired workers from Pawnee and Barton County.
“We’ve got a good bunch of guys lined up and it’s always nice to hire local crews,” he said. “Sometimes, there are local guys looking for work.”
Routledge said working on a metal roofing on a slanted roof is tedious work. The roofing has to be pried from the surface.
“Safety always takes precedence over productivity. The metal is dusty and slick, so you have to be careful, but we all use safety harnesses as required by OHSA requirements,” he said. “When you do this all the time, you get used to it. You always find a way to get your balance.”
The metal roofing is recycled or sold to metal dealers.
PVCH, under the ownership of Pawnee County, will start construction on a replacement building for its critical access hospital. PVCH will maintain its operating capacity of 25 inpatient beds and its emergency care facilities while increasing its outpatient capacity, as well as its focus on long-term patient care.
Pawnee County waged a successful legal battle to secure a critical care access license and determine its medical future in a partnership with HaysMed. The city of Larned, Pawnee County, Pawnee County Attorney John Settle and HaysMed officials have worked together effectively.