SLIB Approves Sweetwater Memorial’s Lab Grant Request

SLIB Approves Sweetwater Memorial’s Lab Grant Request

SWEETWATER COUNTY — With funding secured, the $8.7 million lab renovation and expansion at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County (MHSC) will move forward.

During the MHSC Board of Trustees’ meeting this afternoon, CEO Irene Richardson told the board the State Lands and Investments Board (SLIB) unanimously approved the hospital’s lab renovation request for a Health and Human Service Capital Construction American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant.

SLIB made the decision at its December meeting.

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Under this grant, SLIB is requiring a one-to-one match for the $4.35 million grant request. Richardson said none of this would have been possible if the Sweetwater County Commission didn’t designate $3 million and the MHSC Foundation hadn’t committed to donating $1 million to help cover half of the hospital’s match.

Richardson said the SLIB board didn’t have many questions about the project, which speaks highly on how well prepared the grant application was.

The hospital also applied for a $2.2 million Medical Office Building (MOB) renovation, however they were asked to determine which project was the most important and moved forward with the lab renovation and expansion project.

This image is a rendering of what the MHSC lab will look like after the renovation and expansion. MHSC photo

During the pandemic, the hospital was tasked with eliminating unnecessary foot traffic. The hospital addressed this issue by relocating the lab to the hospital’s foundation office, which displaced the foundation and legal staff.

While at that location, the hospital quickly realized it had a lot of advantages such as immediate access to the lab and it minimized foot traffic in the hospital.

However, this temporary solution has not been accommodating to patients in terms of plumbing and HVAC systems, and staff has been scattered across both laboratories. Specimen transfers between both labs is also a concern.

The renovation and expansion project will address all of these issues while minimizing foot traffic and providing easy access to the lab.