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SRMC leadership excited about role in city's economic development plans


When a city grows, its medical needs do the same.

At this week’s economic development briefing at Sidney’s Holiday Inn Jason Petik, Sidney Regional Medical Center’s CEO, expressed excitement about the hospital’s role in the city’s bright future. Petik has lived in Sidney for three years and is pleased that the city’s biggest problem is growth. This unique issue is one of the reasons Petik decided to move here.

“You see rural communities that are just circling the drain and they’re going down hill,” Petik said. “This one is expanding. It’s the third fastest growing in the state.”

Construction on the new $52 million SRMC building is set to begin in May 2014. The city’s medical needs are growing so quickly that finding enough qualified employees to staff the hospital is sometimes difficult. The hospital currently has 25 job openings. SRMC is on the hunt for six registered nurses for surgical services as well as physician’s assistants and clinic nurses.

Three new full time family practice physicians joined the staff this year. The jobs that SRMC provides in Sidney all pay well and include good benefits, Petik said.

He credits the hospital’s success to its 12-member board of directors, comprised of community leaders, who challenged him to expand services.

“You’ve got a group of people who are business leaders throughout the community who are very visionary and who are very growth-orientated,” Petik said.

A USDA guaranteed loan funds 45 percent of the new hospital building, while another 45 percent will come from a private banking loan with the remaining 10 percent funded by the hospital itself.

Before deciding on a site, SRMC representatives spoke with city manager Gary Person to deterimine a location that would most efficiently serve residents and that would fit with the city’s master plan. In the end they chose ground on the east side of Greenwood Road, near the site for the new Cabela’s housing development.

“It’s been an outstanding effort, working with Cabela’s and the city and the county and everyone’s been stepping to the plate to make sure everything can happen smoothly,” Petik said.

Although the management and construction companies working on the new building are from the front range, Petik expects local subcontractors to do quite a bit of the work after initial construction, such as air duct and electric work.

Plans for a new hospital building were in the works in 2008 but were put on hold during the economic recession. Hospital officials began thinking about new construction again two years ago. Currently SRMC expects to break ground in May 2014, with a 16-18 month building schedule.

The new 125,000 square foot facility will take Sidney from two operating rooms and a single procedure room to three operating rooms and three procedure rooms. It will also expand post and pre-operative rooms from nine to 13 and will feature an expanded specialty clinic, something that Petik said the SRMC sorely needs.

The SRMC plans to move its nursing home facility to the new site as well. The hospital’s current facility features 63 beds while it plans to build a new one with 80-85 beds. SRMC owns some additional ground to the south of its planned build. Petik detailed the possibility of creating a medical corridor in the area with the additions of a Scottsbluff orthodontistry firm and a Sidney eye doctor.

One of the hospital board’s most pressing concerns is what will be done with the old SRMC building once staff are moved into the new one. The current building was originally constructed in the 1950s with two additions in the 80s.

“One of the things that Sidney is severely lacking besides housing is adequate daycare,” Petik said.

Young families who come to work at SRMC are always looking for daycare. Because of this, SRMC is considering about turning over the existing hospital to the Cheyenne County Community Center for a possible daycare site.


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