Sweeny hospital board finalizes loan

SWEENY — The Sweeny Hospital District will cover one-third the cost of its new hospital from its reserves while using a loan and donations to cover the remainder.

The district’s board approved a $28 million loan issued by Frost Bank to finance construction of the new facility, which will be built adjacent to the existing hospital, officials said. The district delayed a final decision during its Dec. 1 meeting while awaiting final details to be ironed out, then had a special meeting Dec. 9 to approve it.

The loan will solely go entirely toward building costs, CEO Kelly Park said.

“You’re talking about a hospital that’s going to be $45 million and you don’t have that cash on hand so we have to get a loan,” Park said.

With the loan finalized, the board also set how much money it would put into the facility from its reserves while also soliciting donations.

“We are putting in $15 million, plus running a strong capital campaign,” Park said.

That money will go toward equipping the hospital, Board Vice President Scott Swift said.

“To do that, it’s not like we can take X amount of money out of our existing accounts and budgetary things because this hospital has to have a little bit of a cushion to run,” Swift said. “If we completely exhaust almost everything we have here, that wouldn’t work.”

The project has received three major donations, Park said — $250,000 from Freeport LNG, $75,000 from Phillips 66 and $10,000 from the West Brazos Golf Center and West Brazos Ladies Golf Association.

“We are very excited to start getting donors. P66 and LNG have been strong donors and our partners,” Park said. “We look forward to make many other partners in our community. We will have a state-of-the-art hospital for our community.”

More donations have come in and the capital campaign will ramp up again after the new year, Park said.

“Right now we have a few more,” Park said. “I don’t have the final list at this time. We are still getting the accurate numbers and donors.”

The hospital is in the design development process since having to change where the new hospital would be built. Originally set for a site off FM 524 outside city limits, an inability to have utilities run to that property caused the hospital district to scrap those plans. Instead, it will be constructed at the site of the current hospital.

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