Contact: Sasha Dull
For more than two years, since planning for the new Medical Center began, the old Hospital building has been listed for sale with little interest generated. Hospital leadership also sought input and ideas regarding reuse, and contacted several organizations to promote their consideration of utilizing the building.
At their regularly scheduled July 20th meeting, the Crossing Rivers Health Board of Directors voted unanimously to raze the vacant 58-year-old former Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital building, before year-end 2015. With a new Medical Center now in full operation on the city’s south side, Crossing Rivers Health has its sights set on a new era in healthcare, while remaining dedicated to the organization’s long-standing history and legacy.
Bill Sexton, Chief Executive Officer of Crossing Rivers Health, said the organization is committed to doing what’s best for the long-term interests of Prairie du Chien, and the region. “The decision to raze the building wasn’t an easy one. It would be easy to let the building continue to stand empty and simply maintain the grounds, but that doesn’t benefit anyone.” Sexton added, “We are certain we don’t want the old Hospital to become a blighted property in Prairie du Chien.”
Sexton shared that as part of the efforts to find a sustainable and appropriate use for the building, the Prairie du Chien and Crawford County Economic Development Corporations drafted a unique proposal for consideration by Crossing Rivers Health’s Board of Directors. “We appreciate the work done by the Economic Development Corporations to develop a proposal. Ultimately, the board of directors was concerned about the long-term viability of the proposed use.”
Charlie Connell, Crossing Rivers Health Board President said, “We really got to know this building when we were considering whether to renovate or build new. We understand the challenges with the building structure and know fully the costs involved in operating the building.” In addition, Connell shared that there would be high cost and potentially a high level of risk in the renovation of the current structure. “The costs and risks are not something we’re willing to simply transfer over to the city, and thus the taxpayers,” Connell stated.
Connell explained that the entire board of directors believes any reuse requiring renovation or restructuring would be extremely expensive. “From an outside perspective, the building may not look as complex as it actually is. It has undergone 11 additions in five decades, resulting in a very complex layout for a very specialized use. Therefore, the board has determined the most prudent course of action is to raze the building, creating a clean slate for future development opportunities.”