Despite best efforts by all involved, the new Purcell Municipal Hospital won’t open as planned on May 3.
That was the news Max Waldrop of Waldrop Construction shared with Purcell Public Works Authority at Monday’s meeting.
Waldrop was spokesman for his company, the contractor for the project, as well as representatives from SSM and Miller Architects.
The contractor declined to speculate on another “go live” date for the facility, adding that he expects to have that date by the authority’s April meeting.
The planned open house is also a “no go,” he added.
There are some supply chain issues, Waldrop said, but the biggest hold up is a manpower shortage.
“Nobody is saying Purcell is not a priority,” he said. “I am also disappointed. We are behind on our parts.”
City manager Dale Bunn said last month’s action firing the paving contractor for sub-standard work is one factor working against the May 3 opening.
Dirt work and the underlying rock layer has to be removed so a new company can properly construct the road around the hospital.
“We’re not the only ones riding this horse,” vice mayor Danny Jacobs said of the manpower shortage.
Waldrop did offer one silver lining, however. The hospital is still on track to be completed under budget.
A lack of manpower is being felt elsewhere in the city.
“Nobody wants to be a police officer,” police chief Bobby Elmore told the council.
In the face of unfilled openings, FOP #194 has suggested the department implement 12-hour shifts for the existing officers.
That would cover any gap in police protection for the city.
On the down side, Elmore said, 12-hour shifts will also create four hours of overtime every pay period for every officer.
The council voted to approve the longer shifts until the department is back to full strength.
A Power Point presentation by Jerry Hayes called on the city to consider live streaming of council meetings.
“I wasn’t born in a digital world. I was born in an analog world,” he said, adding there “needs to be more information shared” with the public.
He pointed out this is the age when communities need to invest in themselves.
“Digital is the new normal,” he said before polling council members after asking they “consider the options.”
While council members Jay Tate, Theda Engert and Graham Fishburn spoke favorably about using the technology, mayor Ted Cox stopped short of an all-out endorsement.
“One of the things about being a little late in the game is learning from the struggles of others,” Cox said.
And Jacobs refused to voice an opinion, explaining he didn’t think that would be respectful since he will leave the council in April and be replaced by Allen Eubanks.
The council took no action.
In other business, the council:
Public Works trustees approved the following:
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