Jackson County hospital eyes opening; no submissions received from developers interested in repurposing old facility

The interior of the new Jackson County Regional Health Center in Maquoketa, Iowa, which is expected to open early next month. Photo taken on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. PHOTO CREDIT: Paul Kurutsides

MAQUOKETA, Iowa — Hospital officials are currently in limbo as they gradually move equipment over to the new facility and ensure computers and other machines are set up and in working order for the big switch early next month.

“To see the culmination of this and to be so close to that start date is just really exciting,” said Hospital President Curt Coleman. “I think the community will agree that it is an improvement in almost every way you can think of.”

The upgraded Jackson County Regional Health Center is expected to open March 4. The initial opening date was pushed back from Feb. 11 after work on the enhanced air ventilation system took longer than expected to complete, Coleman said.

“When you are going through the schedule you don’t really know how long it’s going to delay things until you get to the end,” he said.

The new $37 million hospital located at 601 Hospital Drive in Maquoketa will be 72,000 square-feet, about 55,000 square-feet smaller than the current facility, but will still have all of the same health care services.

Coleman said the hospital is in the midst of transferring over patient records and machines. Each department of the hospital has its own moving plan which will be executed the week of March 4.

“The idea is that you have as much ready to go as possible,” he said. “We will make sure that those services like the emergency department are supported (at the former location) until we are able to make the cut over.”

Coleman said the hospital will have minimal to no appointments a day or two leading up to the big move and will then resume booking appointments after staff are at the new facility. Those receiving inpatient services at the hospital will be brought over March 4, he said.

“A lot of the stuff at the new facility will be up and ready to go,” he said. “(We’re) just waiting for our staff to move over there and start providing services.”

Requests for proposal from possible developers interested in purchasing the old hospital and either repurposing some of the buildings or building a completely new structure on the 12-acre lot were due Thursday. But none were turned in by the deadline, said David Heiar, senior adviser with Jackson County Economic Alliance.

The alliance has been working with the hospital’s board of directors and Maquoketa City Council to put together the proposal in an effort to find developers interested in purchasing the old facility and land.

Heiar said they hope to see the site eventually developed into a senior living facility or an apartment complex.

“There is nothing we can do there unless we are willing to wait,” he said. “We will need to reach back out to some of these developers and see if there is something we can do differently to get a proposal.”