Federal loan to help Dosher modernize

SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) -- Dosher Memorial Hospital will soon be getting a facelift with help from the federal government.

"We are just ready to get started," Dosher CFO Dennis Coffey said.

Dosher Memorial Hospital has been working for this day for several years. Monday the hospital celebrated an $8.5 million, low-interest loan from USDA Rural Development. The facility will use the money to renovate all 25 rooms.

"The rooms were built in the '70s, and they were not designed to today's standards," Coffey said. "There is a significant challenge moving patients around with limited mobility."

There is also a key safety feature out of date as well.

"There is no sprinkler system in the building," Coffey said. "It's a safety concern that can only be fixed with a major renovation."

Along with the new sprinkler system, the rooms will be transformed into private rooms. Sixteen of the rooms will get new bathrooms, handwalls, windows and plumbing. One room will be used for patient isolation, and eight rooms will allow for handicap accessibility.

"There's not enough room to get a wheelchair through (the doors). That is a significant issue that puts more burden on the staff," Coffey said.

The hospital says the renovations will actually cost more than the $8.5 million the loan covers. It expects the project to cost more than $11 million in all.

"We are very fortunate that the citizens of our area have agreed to tax themselves to support the hospital," Coffey said about how the hospital will make up the difference.

The hospital says construction will be completed in four phases. The first phase should start in November. The project is expected to take 15 months to complete.

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