Norton Sound Health Corp. buys land for planned hospital

Posted: Tuesday, July 03, 2001

NOME (AP) _ Norton Sound Health Corp. has purchased a 42-acre parcel to build a long-awaited new hospital.

The corporation, which has eyed a new facility since 1994, bought the land from Alaska Gold for about $900,000, according to corporation president Joe Cladouhos. Construction on the new hospital, depending on federal funding, could begin between 2003 and 2005 and be completed by 2007.

``We're very pleased about purchasing the land,'' Cladouhos told the Nome Nugget. ``We're kind of landlocked here so we're really happy about obtaining it.''

With the purchase, the health corporation may have improved its status among communities needing new facilities. Currently, Indian Health Service ranks the Norton Sound region third nationally in terms of need.

Cladouhos said a new hospital could cost as much as $85 million and provide the region with significantly better care.

``We can anticipate there will be more services because we will have bigger and better services,'' he said. ``We'll be building more outpatient rooms so the service will be faster.''

Corporation officials learned in April that the Alaska Gold land was available. Before that, the plan was to purchase ground near the corporation's current facility.

The acreage gives lets the corporation erect a new facility that meets size specifications recommended by Indian Health Service for a regional hospital. Under that criteria, the Nome hospital should encompass 112,000-square feet - a total more than twice the size of the existing structure.

The new facility would enable Norton Sound to consolidate many of its services now being offered at various sites in the community because of a lack of office space within the current building, Cladouhos said.

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