Negotiations between the county and the new owners of Starke Hospital regarding the construction of a new facility on the existing site are ongoing. The county owns the current building at the corner of Heaton Street and Culver Road in Knox and the land on which is sits, but the hospital is operated by Community Health Systems. Starke Hospital CEO Craig Felty says they’re making progress in negotiations with the county for a new lease.
He adds both groups want to ensure adequate health care for years to come in the county and says there are a lot of different aspects involved in doing so need to be worked out.
Felty says another extension of the current lease with the county will likely be necessary to wrap up the negotiations.
“It depends on how long it’s going to take to get all this other stuff settled that we need to. The little stuff that’s in the contract — it may seem little, but it really takes a lot of time to get that stuff settled.”
Felty says the plan is still to build on the existing hospital site, noting that it is centrally located and in a close proximity to a number of area physician offices.
He remains hopeful they can break ground on a new building by the end of 2016. Construction will take between nine and 12 months to complete, according to Felty. Once everything is transferred to the new building, demolition of the existing structure will take between three to six months. After it’s down, the area will be turned into green space and parking.
Starke Hospital officials are meeting again in executive session this evening with the county council and commissioners to continue the negotiations.