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Health Care Center, space needs discussed by Portage County Board


STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) -- The Portage County Board of Supervisors has a ways to go before deciding the future of the county’s nursing home, the Portage County Health Care Center. County Executive Patty Dreier spoke to the board yesterday, and says they have three options. They could build a new building, remodel the old one, or get out of the nursing home business. Dreier strongly believes the county would best serve the constituents by maintaining a skilled nursing home, but says the smart money is in building a more modern and efficient facility. “A new facility would be close to 20 million dollars in the broad estimates that exist in the report. The other option is to remodel the existing facility. There are lots of different perspectives on that, but what we do know is that status quo is not an option.”

Dreier says the present operating cost vs. what the county can bill for services just doesn’t work within the present structure. “What we know is, with the business forecasting and modelling that was done in the study, that we cannot sustain the health care center without making changes. It’s just not financially possible.”

Some of those changes would be to design the facility with shorter hallways, more efficient rooms, and add private rooms that are often in demand and hard to get.

The Portage County Board is also looking at space needs. Dreier says the outdated courthouse building needs considerable modernization, and the undersized jail continues to be an issue. She says the departments have worked with her to figure out what is needed when the time comes to change.

The county board is likely to purchase the former Travel Guard building at 1039 Ellis Street, which is next to the existing County Annex building. Dreier says at a little over one million dollars, the price is right and it would give the county room to build in the future. It would also serve as temporary quarters when the courthouse does undergo major remodelling.

(Our interview with Patty Dreier prior to the County Board meeting can be heard on our website, here.)