Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 17, 2015

Board votes to take look at old North Panola hospital space

By Rupert Howell
Supervisors voted 3-2 to move forward with cost estimates on renovating North Panola hospital for use as a governmental agency office building during discussions including City of Sardis representatives whose municipality also has stock in the abandoned building.
Benchmark Construction representative David Marsh’s estimate of spending $2.5 to $2.6 million would renovate the outside of the building, roof and brick and mortar repairs giving the facility the protection it needs from the elements so the inside could be utilized for various needs.
An estimate of approximately $40,000 had been given months earlier for removing asbestos from the former hospital.
District Three Supervisor John Thomas spoke against remodeling asking, “How much (will it cost) to tear the old building down? I’m not for spending that amount on an old building.”
Sardis Mayor Billy Russell said a building one-third of the size of the hospital would cost $2.5 to $3 million.
“I’m thinking financially , to me, it makes more sense to get two or three times more space and rent it out to get something back,” the Mayor said.
But a cost for the inside renovation was  not available with Thomas and District Five Supervisor Cole Flint agreeing that inside renovation could double or triple the cost of remodeling the three-story structure.
“What’s going to happen when they find mold all in the building and it’s going to cost another $2-$3 million,” Thomas asked after the vote.
“That’s when  you make a decision on whether to go forward or not. Right now, it’s not costing us a thing,” Supervisor Kelly Morris said.

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