It’s been talked about around town for months. Marias Healthcare Clinic (MHC) is moving into the former Shopko building, but until recently not much information has been officially released. A “Call for Bids” was recently published in the Shelby Promoter for architects and engineering firms. Jamie Brownell, CEO of Marias Healthcare Services Inc., stated Slate Architecture, based out of Helena, has been chosen for the project.

“We received 16 bids/-proposals for A&E services from all around the state. Slate has completed projects for numerous hospitals, clinics and other businesses. They will manage the project and handle permits, contracts, oversight management etc.,” said Brownell.

A general contractor/construction manager (GCCM) model is being used so MHC can go out for bid for a general contractor, who would then be a full partner with the architect from the beginning and the subcontractors would come into play after that.

“The general contractor/construction manager delivery method is one of the project management options available to companies and organizations about to start a complicated construction project,” said Brownell. “Architects, general contractors, construction laborers and the agency overseeing the project. Complicated construction projects take a great deal of coordination and the type of delivery methods chosen helps to have effective communication. Budgets and time-frame constraints also help clients choose the appropriate model to use.”

Brownell said they plan on being in the design phase for about three months, which includes permits, studies and financing needs. TD&H will be conducting the environmental, drainage, asbestos and other studies for the project. They are hoping to have construction underway by late summer and figure the project will take 10-12 months to complete.

MHC has been renting the space it is currently in from Marias Healthcare since 1997. Moving the facility to a new location not only benefits MHC with allowing them more room for expansion, but the hospital as well. 

“We visited with Kalispell Regional Healthcare (KRH) about what our region needs for a healthcare system,” said Brownell. “The new building allows us to provide space for current services, expand services and Kalispell will be renting space to host numerous specialty physicians. The old clinic space will give hospital services the ability to expand services and have adequate space also.”

Allotting more space for both facilities to expand and thrive benefits not only Toole County, but the entire outlying area as conversation continues on reduction of duplication in the region and to increase efficiency in the healthcare system while also reducing barriers to care for patients.

“Some lab and X-ray services are being discussed for the new building, which allows the hospital departments to expand other services by appointments, such as MRI, mammograms, DEXA, etc., at the main hospital.”

While it is by no means a quick process, it is one that once finished, should provide even more efficient and fantastic care to all those that MHC serves.

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