Cost of Belhaven clinic increases to $6 million
Published 5:34 pm Thursday, January 21, 2016
BELHAVEN — The price tag on Vidant Health’s 24-hour, multispecialty clinic in Belhaven continues to rise.
Once plans were announced for the clinic in 2013, the original estimate for construction was $4.2 million, but recently, Vidant officials have said the total now stands at $6 million.
Christine Mackey, communications manager at Vidant, said the reason for the rising cost is simple: changes in supply and demand.
Mackey said there has been inflation in the costs of project material and site development, thus leading to the increases in projected cost of construction.
The 12,000-square-foot facility is being built on about 19.4 acres of land between the Belhaven post office and Food Lion shopping center. It will include immediate care, lab work equipment, X-ray technology and a helipad to transport patients in an emergency situation. It is also expected to bring Belhaven’s three currently operating Vidant clinics under one roof.
The clinic is on schedule to start accepting patients this summer, according to Dr. Mark Rumans, chief medical officer at Vidant Health.
“Vidant has made significant progress on the new facility in Belhaven,” he said in a previous interview. “We are on schedule to start seeing patients in June, ensuring that the people in Belhaven and the surrounding communities have access to high-quality care for the long-term, sustainable needs of the community.”
Construction of the clinic remains a point of contention among Belhaven residents after Vidant closed the town’s Vidant Pungo Hospital in July 2014 due to its growing debts.
Some residents, including Mayor Adam O’Neal, are pushing to have the hospital reopened and attempting to acquire the property from current owner Pantego Creek LLC under eminent domain. Once acquired, O’Neal plans to move forward with obtaining a $6 million loan from the United States Department of Agriculture to help cover the costs of reopening the medical facility.
Although O’Neal and his supporters have accused Vidant of abandoning the town’s health care needs, Mackey said Vidant remains committed to the needs of the area, investing millions in Beaufort and Hyde counties.