CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For several years, Boone Memorial Hospital has been "patching patches and remodeling dozens of times" to pass state inspections, the hospital's chief executive officer said Thursday.
Tommy Mullins hopes that will change now that federal officials have approved a loan to build a new hospital.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development program approved the $31.8 million loan so that Boone Memorial can build, equip and furnish the new hospital. The loan, called a Community Facility Direct Loan, is to help develop essential community facilities in rural areas with fewer than 20,000 residents, according to the USDA.
When Boone Memorial opened in 1964, 40 employees walked the halls, Mullins said. Today, 175 physicians, registered nurses and janitors work at the hospital.
Over the years, the hospital has knocked down walls, replaced the roof and has had electrical and plumbing problems.
"Employee-wise, there are more people in here than there should be and that's not counting our patients," Mullins said. "We just have exceeded the intent of this building. We're busting at the seams."
Mullins said the hospital has worked on plans to build a new facility for seven years.
The total project will cost $34.3 million. Boone Memorial will raise the $2.5 million the USDA loan does not cover, Mullins said.
The loan is not contingent on Boone Memorial raising that $2.5 million, but Mullins said he is confident the hospital can raise the money through a capital campaign, grants and philanthropic organizations.
Boone Memorial switched from a county-owned hospital to a nonprofit community hospital in July 2012 so that it could raise donations for this project, Mullins said.
"It is so difficult to give to the county for another entity because it goes through the county books. But if you're a nonprofit community hospital, you can contribute directly to the hospital and take it off your taxes with no issues," Mullins said. "This was the driving reason for the new hospital to raise money."
The new hospital will be nearly double the size of the existing 40,000-square-foot facility, located about a mile off U.S. 119 in Madison.
The one-and-a-half story building will house a pharmacy and inpatient unit on the top floor. Each room will be a private room -- an improvement from the existing hospital's one- two- and four-bedroom options.