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SILVER CITY — Gila Regional Medical Center will undergo a $40 million expansion that will be completed in 2017.

Two community talks to give information about the project are planned. The first will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Bayard Community Center, 290 Hurley Ave., and the second from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 25 in downtown Silver City at the Silco Theatre, 311 N. Bullard St.

Improvements include upgrading the heating and cooling systems, creating single occupancy rooms with private bathrooms and showers, replacing labor, delivery, and postpartum rooms, expanding the Surgical Center area, increasing accessibility for patients with centralized registration and scheduling along with improving patient flow throughout the building, creating a space for specialty physician clinics, and establishing a one-stop-shop for outpatient services. The remodel will also bring the Rehabilitation Center, Education department, and Health Resource Library to campus and provide a large meeting space.

"It is time for us to make the improvements necessary for the hospital to remain competitive in the region, maintain our accreditations and serve our patients the best way we know how - like family," said Brian Bentley, Gila Regional Medical Center Chief Executive Officer. "Our planned improvements are driven by patient satisfaction and will enhance the care for each and every one of our patients."

The addition/remodel cost is estimated at $40.68 million. The hospital will provide a cash down payment of $6.34 million with the balance funded by a bond, and will pay these bonds back through hospital operating revenues. The combination of current low interest rates and depreciation costs for this project results in a small increase of 3 percent in operating expenses.

"Even though the pending improvements are expensive, the hospital has been working diligently to save money and financially prepare to ensure that the costs of services are not affected," Bentley said. "We are very proud of our strong values. We believe in only spending when necessary and never spending beyond our means."

Gila Regional Medical Center is county-owned and the Grant County Commissioners appoint the Board of Trustees. It is locally managed, financially independent and the CEO is hired by and reports to the Board of Trustees.

Construction is expected to begin with the expansion phase in 2014, then move toward the remodel phase in 2015, Bentley said.

"I am excited about the future growth of this health care facility," he said. "Through my years in healthcare, I have seen many changes in standards, regulations and patient expectations and know serving Grant County to the best of our ability is well worth it."

If you go:

What: Gila Regional Medical Center expansion talk

When: 5 to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Bayard Community Center, 290 Hurley Ave.

5 to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Silco Theater, 311 N. Bullard St. Silver City,