Governing Board approves plans for new state-of-the-art campus in Connersville
Reid Health plans to build a new facility in Connersville, a $100 million investment into the community.
Sept. 30, 2022 -- Reid Health has big plans for its presence in the city of Connersville, plans that will keep the health system in the community for generations to come.
On Monday, the Reid Health Governing Board gave its approval for a new state-of-the-art campus in Connersville, a $100 million-plus investment that represents Reid's continued commitment to the community now and well into the future.
A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 19 to formally mark the beginning of construction at the former Kmart property, 2500 Park Road. Reid acquired the site in early 2021 and removed the long-standing eyesore that the former retail building had become.
The new facility will replace the current building at 1941 Virginia Ave., which traces its origins back more than 100 years. The complex's age -- along with maintenance that was deferred as previous owner Fayette Regional Health System experienced financial difficulties -- made building a new campus the more financially sound option over renovating the current location.
"We want to bring to Connersville and the Fayette County region a very updated, logically laid out, well-planned facility that has services they need and want to have in their backyard," said Craig Kinyon, Reid Health President/CEO.
"It's going to give the region access to top-level, state-of-the-art care tailored to the needs of Fayette County. This facility will provide patients with a place to receive a very high level of service in an outpatient setting without having to travel. We believe this investment will be a source of pride in the community for decades to come."
To celebrate the start of the replacement campus project, Reid is inviting the community to a special event called The Big Build Bash!, which will take place 2-8 p.m. at Roberts Park on Saturday, Oct. 22. Vendors and food trucks will be on hand, with a free concert beginning at 5 p.m. In conjunction with the celebration, Kunkel's Drive-in will host a cruise-in at their location from noon to 3 p.m.
Honoring a commitment
Reid Health acquired a substantial portion of the assets of Fayette Regional Health System in July 2019 after Fayette Regional had filed for bankruptcy protection. Reid was able to keep services open without interruption during the transition.
"The community has significant health needs. To learn about Fayette Regional's transition into bankruptcy was extremely heartbreaking for me because I recognized the community couldn't lose local access to healthcare," said Kinyon, who served as Fayette Memorial Hospital's (later known as Fayette Regional) Chief Financial Officer for five years before joining Reid Health in 1995.
"The organization was made up of friends, families, and neighbors taking care of friends, families, and neighbors."
Reid officials pledged to ensure the community has access to a variety of important high-quality healthcare services and made substantial upgrades and improvements, adding staff and services in the time since. The decision to build a replacement campus is the latest step toward honoring that commitment.
"We want to continue to add services and technologies as the community needs and as healthcare evolves," Kinyon said. "We'll have space available within the new building to expand for things we aren't thinking about at this moment.
"It's an exciting project for us because we get to take a blank piece of paper and start over."
Connersville and Fayette County officials are thankful for Reid's efforts on behalf of the community so far and are excited for what's to come.
"I'm excited Reid Health is honoring their commitment to Connersville with access to high-quality healthcare," said Connersville Mayor Chad Frank. "Growth is happening, and the future is bright for Connersville. I'm pleased Reid Health recognizes this and has decided to move forward with us in our growth."
Tom Hilkert, Reid Health Governing Board chair, said the investment in a new Connersville facility is vital to fulfilling Reid's mission in Fayette County and the surrounding area.
"Reid is committed to meeting the needs of those we serve, one person at a time, and this facility will provide greater access, the latest technologies, and numerous healthcare services to the Fayette County community," he said. "This investment will make a powerful and positive impact on the future of healthcare and vitality in this entire region."
"I'm so thankful Reid is making this type of investment in Connersville. From an economic development standpoint, a healthcare facility of this scale will strengthen our position to attract new businesses to Fayette County." -- Dan Parker, President and CEO of the Fayette County Economic Development Group
When Reid officially assumed control of the Virginia Avenue facility on July 16, 2019, the health system employed 269 people in Connersville. Today, the entire Reid Health system employs 429 Connersville residents and plans to grow that number with the new campus, which could spur more economic growth within the city and county.
Dan Parker, President and CEO of the Fayette County Economic Development Group, believes the project will bring new possibilities to the area.
"I'm so thankful Reid is making this type of investment in Connersville," Parker said. "From an economic development standpoint, a healthcare facility of this scale will strengthen our position to attract new businesses to Fayette County.
"This investment will transition that property and will help to stimulate our economy. This is a huge win for our community. We are fortunate to have Reid's presence in our community. They've been a blessing."
"We hope this project gives the community another big reason for companies to locate jobs in the Fayette/Connersville region," Kinyon said.
"Hopefully, this will be a catalyst that will incubate other ideas within the community and be something that can serve as a springboard. We very much hope that's part of this project, that there's a good positive momentum that comes from this."
Most efficient, cost-effective solution
The Virginia Avenue complex, as it now sits, represents 100 years' worth of construction and renovation projects, from the original sections on the north end of the site to the most recent addition built in the 1990s. The result is a location that can't easily be remade to meet the needs of a modern healthcare facility.
Some sections sit unused because of the prohibitive costs associated with necessary renovations. Others, such as the Emergency Department, are simply too small. The outdated spaces have been challenging to retrofit and update with new technologies, workflows, and services. A new facility will provide a clean slate to build a campus that can accommodate today's technologies and tomorrow's innovations.
In addition to the space limitations, there are expensive repairs needed for HVAC equipment, the roof, windows, and other systems that are either at the end of their lifecycle or already past it. For example, the boilers and chillers need to be replaced, a multimillion-dollar maintenance expense on its own that would create downtime in building usage.
Put together, it became clear to Reid officials the most efficient, cost-effective solution would be to start over.
"It came down to how do you handle the challenges of renovating a building that for decades had been providing certain services, that has a lot of lifecycle problems -- a lot of things that probably based on the financial condition of Fayette Regional they couldn't get to -- and it just became obvious to us the best solution was to build a replacement facility and configure that in a way that makes sense for healthcare today," Kinyon said.
Plans at this point call for a two-story, 177,000-square-foot facility with more than 400 parking spaces and an onsite helipad. Reid is working with architectural firm HKS to design the new campus. HKS is a worldwide company and widely recognized as the premier healthcare design firm in the United States.
The new building is anticipated to be finished in 2024, depending on weather and other factors that commonly impact construction. Supply chain issues also could affect the availability of needed materials.
Skanska USA Building Inc. and joint venture partner Shook Construction were approved Monday night by the Reid Health Governing Board as the health system's primary construction partner. Shook and Reid Health have a long history of successful projects including the construction of new Primary & Specialty Care facilities in Winchester and Brookville. Shook is headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, and has offices located in Richmond.
"Like any Reid project, we choose to work with local contractors whenever possible and that will remain true for this project," said Jeff Cook, Director of Engineering for Reid Health. "We look forward to having local participation in the building of this facility."
The new facility will include an Emergency Department, radiology and laboratory services, and a mix of primary and specialty care options for patients. Some of those services include cardiology, oncology, OB/GYN, orthopedic, cardio-pulmonary rehab, podiatry, rehab services (physical therapy and occupational therapy), audiology, sleep disorder, wound healing, and ear, nose, and throat. Hospital administration and planning teams are actively working with architects to determine the final plans for the building.
"This is a fluid situation at this point," Kinyon said. "Decisions about services and other things will continue to be made while the project progresses."
The addition of a helipad at the new campus will be Fayette County's first in nearly 30 years to be located adjacent to emergency services.
"This is an exciting time for all of us at Reid Health, and we hope the residents of Connersville, Fayette County, and beyond are just as excited. We're going to bring them a new, modern, updated facility as well as the technologies and equipment that go along with that. We remain committed to this community, and we can't wait to see what we can accomplish together." -- Craig Kinyon, Reid Health President/CEO
One thing the new campus will not be is an inpatient hospital. Reid officials said the financial difficulties Fayette Regional experienced proved trying to offer inpatient care in the community to be too costly. Also, given Reid Hospital's nearby location in Richmond, providing those same services in Connersville would amount to a duplication of efforts.
"We're not providing inpatient care because we can transition the patients to Richmond in fewer than 30 minutes and have all the subspecialists and specialists there for their care," Kinyon said. "To duplicate that in Connersville would not be financially sustainable, and it's our responsibility to build a healthcare facility that can meet the needs of the community for years to come."
Fate of current facility
Once the new campus is open, work will turn to the current complex on Virginia Avenue.
"For all the reasons and concerns that the building doesn't make sense for us, I'm not sure it would make sense for anybody else," Kinyon said. "Like most hospitals, it's unusually configured for being flexible or usable for other sorts of spaces. I think it would be challenging for someone to take over the building.
"Our plan -- unless something else comes to light -- is to tear it down, fill in the hole, level the dirt, and put grass down. From there, we'll see where we go. It could be sold at that point or gifted over. The board will address that issue after talking with the community and figuring out what's the best solution."
Stay up to date
Regular updates and FAQs about the new campus project in Connersville are available on the Reid Health website at reidhealth.org/buildup. In addition to news about construction timelines, planned healthcare services to be available once the new building opens, and celebration events, residents will be able to submit questions about the project through that page.
"This is an exciting time for all of us at Reid Health, and we hope the residents of Connersville, Fayette County, and beyond are just as excited," Kinyon said. "We're going to bring them a new, modern, updated facility as well as the technologies and equipment that go along with that.
"We remain committed to this community, and we can't wait to see what we can accomplish together."