By Walker County News Today staff
At Wednesday night’s meeting of the Walker County Hospital District Board, board members agreed unanimously to look at options for the possible demolition of the Ella Smither building on 11th Street. The building has been vacant for some time with, according to board members, no serious prospects for a lease.
Board President Bob Hardy reviewed the ongoing expenses in maintaining the vacant structure, including cleaning up the interior after every rainfall due to a roof leak. This expense, combined with utilities, grounds maintenance and other costs make the building a drain on the district’s budget, Hardy said.
The board agreed to have fellow board member Ron Lange seek demolition estimates from contractors. Hardy said he had also spoken with someone at the City of Huntsville in an attempt to locate contractors for the demolition project.
The City of Huntsville has expressed interest in the site if the existing building is demolished since it is adjacent to existing city-owned properties and that the city is considering expansion.
In other business, the board approved payment of indigent care expenses, approved costs associated with the clinic in the Walker County Jail, received an update from Huntsville Memorial Hospital on the status of renovations to the hospital’s Emergency Room, made amendments to the district’s budget, and viewed a presentation from HMH Chief Executive Officer Shannon Brown about the statistics of Mergers & Acquisitions of rural hospitals.
Hardy told members that he would be speaking individually with board members about information that was upcoming; however, Hardy did not elaborate on the nature of the information or the time frame for his individual meetings with the other board members.
After adjourning the meeting, the board toured the Emergency Room with Brown.