A 20 million dollar Bond issue, to pay for continued expansion at Wyoming Medical Center got preliminary approval from the Natrona County Commission Tuesday.

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Wyoming Medical Center officials say getting the County on board with the bond issue now is important in order to keep to a rigorous construction schedule that starts this spring with tear down of their West Building.

CEO, Vicki Diamond, outlined to Commissioners the 35 million dollar project that will add 97 thousand square feet, or somewhere between 36 to 40 new rooms, to the hospital campus.

Diamond says now’s the time.

"We"ve been planning some kind of expansion over the last five years. If you take a look at our facility and what we have to do competitively going forward - knowing are rooms are small, double rooms-there are a lot more resistant infections out there that make people have to be alone in their rooms, it became imperative that we take care of our community."

Diamond describes the expansion as moderate and will afford the medical center, among other things, a new kitchen and cafeteria, a larger and centralized labor delivery unit, expanded radiology and a new front entrance.

The hospital gets word of its bond rating for the issue in about 10 days. That rating ultimately determines interest rate on the 20 year bond. One huge positive for the Medical Center, Diamond says, is they enter the bond issue debt free.

“So we’re really in a good space right now. We’ve already done our analysis of the impact of health care reform as we know today. We think we're in a good financial place for that. And we’re trying to eliminate cost out of the system all the time, trying to be more efficient in our processes of how we deliver care.”

She says they’ll be back with the Commission on the 15th of February, with rating in hand,  to seek final approval.

She says they hope to have construction completed on the new wing by late 2012 or early 2013.