PECOS Reeves County Hospital plans to open a new version of itself that is double its size in just a couple of months.
The new $114 million facility is being paid for with oil and gas proceeds, sales tax and prudent spending, Chief Executive Officer Brenda McKinney said.
A Pecos native, McKinney said she has been CEO of the hospital for six years and was its chief financial officer for four years before that. Previously, she worked in banking.
“… To be able to build a brand new, state-of-the-art facility is probably at the top of any goal I would have ever had. Because not only are we building a new, state-of-the-art facility with new equipment, new furnishings, it will all be paid for; no bonds; nothing. …,” McKinney said.
The contract for the new two-story, 140,000-square-foot facility is Robins & Morton in Birmingham, Ala., and the architects are Perkins + Will.
The firm Health Care Relocation is working on the logistics of moving people and equipment.
The current facility is around 87,000 square feet. McKinney said it will be repurposed. She said some of it will probably be used for housing because that’s still a “little bit of an issue” in Reeves County and they may lease some of it out.
She noted that a big part of it is oil and gas.
“We just had been putting money away … maybe a little from revenues. … As the oil and gas industry was ramping up in Reeves County, we do receive a half a cent of the sales tax. We were very frugal with the monies coming in knowing that this was a huge goal of the district’s; hoping that we would be able to at least pay half of it in cash, but we were able to secure enough funds that we’ll be able to pay for the whole project, which is about $114 million-plus. It’ll all be paid for in cash,” McKinney said.
When they started the project, she said they knew they would have about 60 to 70 percent secured because of the money they put aside.
“… But, as you know, oil and gas continued to do well in Reeves County and the work in Reeves County. Any extra that we would get from … sales tax and stuff that we tried to put it all away so that we could go ahead and pay for every bit of it,” McKinney said.
The original hospital is 44 or 45 years old.
“The building’s really in pretty good shape and we put a new roof on it maybe … five, six years ago. It’s all cinderblock. It’s very well built. … We could have probably expanded the current facility, but we struggle with our internet and Wi-Fi because of the cinderblock …,” McKinney said.
Instead of trying to work on the current building, they decided to build new. They owned a little bit of the land it’s going to sit on and the rest was purchased from the Pecos Economic Development Corporation. The new two-story facility will sit on about seven acres.
The Valley Rural Health Clinic where McKinney was interviewed at was opened in 2011. It is the only hospital clinic in town, but during COVID they set up another one in a building they rented because the hospital was overwhelmed.
McKinney said she has about 270 employees. With part-time and PRN, or as needed employees, there would be another 25 or so.
McKinney said they will bring over some equipment that have been purchased over the years, but they are trying to update a lot of it.
“… We’ll have a brand-new, in-house MRI machine, a brand new CT machine, new radiology machine. We’ll have a women’s imaging with a new mammography machine, bone density, ultrasound. We will have a hyperbaric chamber which we’ve never had. … We’re very excited about bringing that service to the community. Our dialysis unit will be going over with us, so we’ll have a new dialysis unit there within the new building,” she added.
The hyperbaric chamber helps heal wounds faster with oxygen, among other things.
“Reeves County is very fortunate because of what’s going on in the oil and gas industry and the activity here. We’ve been able to do some things in our community that we hadn’t been able to do before,” McKinney said.
She added that the area was a huge farming and ranching county years ago.
“There wasn’t a lot of oil and gas activity and then there’s a minimum security prison here owned by the county. So when the oil and gas industry moved in, they started lacing up along the land and stuff so it’s been good for all the entities the school has benefited from it. We’re building some new schools. The county has built a new rec center. There’s not been build like that for years and years before our corporate partners in the oil and gas industry hit Reeves County. It has helped this county tremendously, county wide not just the hospital district,” McKinney said.
“All the entities have been able to make lots of great improvements to Reeves County and the town of Pecos. We’re very blessed to have the oil and gas partners in our county,” she added.
McKinney said not everybody knows the hospital is completely paid for. They have communicated it somewhat, but once they finish the hospital, have the open house and the grand opening, that’s something they’ll make sure people understand.
“… This isn’t costing the taxpayers any additional money. It will be paid for when the … project’s complete. …,” McKinney said.
This includes the equipment and furnishings.
They are shooting for a mid-June opening.
“We have to go through an inspection with the Texas Department of Health and Human Services. We’ve got that coming up in about a week,” she said in an April 18 interview.
“Then we have to train on all our new equipment. … We don’t have a lot of resources. … We have to take a few staff members over at a time, whoever’s off may have to spend part of their off days over there training. It’s not like we can have a lot of staff that can hold down the fort because we have to continue operating where we’re at … taking care of patients,” she added.
The training may take a couple of months.
McKinney said they want to have an open house before they move into the facility to show the community and visitors “all the great stuff we’ve done.”
A date for the open house hasn’t been secured yet, but they are looking at the first week in June.