BLOUNTSTOWN, Fla. (WMBB) — Community leaders held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Calhoun-Liberty Hospital in Oct. 2020. So, where’s the hospital?
The Calhoun-Liberty Hospital in Blountstown was another victim of Hurricane Michael in 2018.
Hospital administrators decided to reduce their operating space from 25,000 square feet to 10,000 square feet, while they waited on federal grant money.
Two years after the storm they broke ground on a new 65,000 square foot hospital facility.
Unfortunately, those were the last shovels to turn any dirt on the site.
“Well, inflation was a huge piece. The first time we went out, we didn’t have enough money there to fund the whole project. And so, we had to scale it back. So that was one obstacle that was really the main. It’s been financial,” said Calhoun-Liberty Hospital CEO Christinia Jepsen.
“They had to go back to the drawing board, and they reduced the size of the hospital some. The bids came in at that time at about $58 million, and they had about $38 million,” Said Calhoun Board of County Commissioners Chairman Gene Bailey.
So administrators went back to the drawing board. They adjusted for inflation and downsized their plans for a 49,000-square-foot facility that fit within their $38 million budget.
Funding to construct the facility came from FEMA, HUD, and the Department of Health.
There will be a total of 11 hospital beds, three of which will be used for rehab care. And there will be room for other new medical departments.
“We will have all the radiology services and trauma centers, you know, available here instead of having to go to Tallahassee or Panama City,” Bailey said.
Jepsen says they’re planning a construction kick-off on Nov. 3 at 10 a.m. Crews should begin work sometime before the end of the year.
“We have been struggling with just ten beds in this community for a long time and a roof that’s kind of temporary and done by 650 sandbags. So, we are so excited to be in a real building,” Jepsen said.
The construction should take about 14 months.
The hospital should be completed during the first half of 2025.