County approves bonds for Boone Hospital Center

Friday, June 6, 2008 | 12:20 a.m. CDT; updated 6:16 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

COLUMBIA — The Boone County Commission authorized the issuance of $100 million of its hospital revenue bonds during a regular session at the Boone County Government Center on Thursday morning.

The bonds used will pay for the completion of a parking garage and seven-story patient care tower at Boone Hospital Center, said Robert McDavid, chairman of the Boone Hospital board of trustees.

The completed patient care facilities will expand the hospital’s capacity, a change that McDavid said is absolutely necessary. The hospital already has had to defer some patients and send them to different hospitals because of a shortage of beds.

“We’re really at a point where, without this, we would have substantial bed shortages in two years,” McDavid said.

Four floors of the tower will contain 128 single-bed rooms, and crews will just shell the top two floors so they can be used for future expansion of the hospital over the next 10 to 15 years, McDavid said. Those floors would also house patient rooms.

The first floor of the tower will house administration offices and lobby space. The parking garage should be completed in January, and tower construction will begin after that, he said.

The county, which owns the hospital facilities, has been working for the past two years with the board of trustees to get the bonds financed, Boone County Treasurer Kay Murray said.

The underwriter of the bonds is Stern Brothers & Co. The St. Louis-based company purchased the entire bond series, Managing Director Arlan Dohrmann said. The company began working with the county on financing the project in March 2007.

“As of today, we have a firm contract (to deliver the funds),” Dohrmann said.

The company sold the bond series in portions to other retail and financial institutions. As the hospital makes debt service payments to UMB, which is the paying agent, the bank makes payments to the bondholders.

Boone Hospital Center plans to pay $10 million each year to pay off its debt from pre-existing and upcoming projects, McDavid said. The center will complete all payments by 2038.

The board of trustees plans to pay one-fifth of the expansion project’s $125 million cost, McDavid said.

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