A peaceful landscape currently occupies the former Menninger campus,
but a new plan could soon change the scene. St. Francis CEO Mike Schrader said, "As we look at health care moving forward, it looks different than it does now. The old buildings we have aren't equipped to deal with that. We need something new to respond to a changing market."
After nearly 100 years at sixth and Garfield, the board recommends
moving St. Francis Health Center and possibly building a whole new center from the ground up.
But the final decision is up to the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health Care System, St. Francis' owners, who would
ultimately fit the bill. A bill that could cost hundreds of millions. Schrader says a rule of thumb in the industry is that every bed in a new hospital costs about one million dollars. So to build a hospital with 200 beds would cost about 200 million dollars.
Even with a move, St. Francis could still keep a presence in Central
Topeka. If the plan moves forward, they will next make a business proposal deciding on a plan. If the plan is approved, Schrader says construction of a new facility would take at least five years.
No word yet on the price tag to buy the Menninger land to the hospital.
As far as the historic clock tower building, CEO Mike Schrader says they recognize its importance to the community and if St. Francis does take it over, they'll be cautious about any decisions.