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Cancer center capital campaign seeks funding help from MMU

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Community Cancer Center Capital Campaign asked Marshall Municipal Utilities Board of Public Works to fund $292,000 towards the campaign so they can meet their July 11 campaign conclusion date. The board has decided to review options to fund this request at a later date.

The committee must have the entire $4 million at least pledged by July 11 or they will be unable to build the center and they will lose the $200,000 grant from The Mabee Foundation.

Ron Ott, chief executive officer and president of Fitzgibbon Hospital; Gayle Carter, campaign development director; Mary Keller, campaign associate; and Bill Jackson, campaign division chairman, attend the meeting Tuesday, May 13, to make their request to the board.

Jackson began his presentation with a few statistics about Fitzgibbon Hospital, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit hospital.

"Fitzgibbon serves over 23,000 residents of Saline and area counties," Jackson said. "In any given year, the hospital will treat over 3,000 inpatient visits, 100,000 outpatient visits with over 13,000 visits to our emergency department."

Fitzgibbon is not a county hospital and therefore has no tax support to it, Jackson said.

"To quote John Huston in our case statement, 'The hospital has financed all of its expansions and additions itself and has not asked for donations from the public,'" Jackson said. "Until today!"

From an economic impact standpoint, the hospital is the third largest employer in Saline County, behind ConAgra Foods and Marshall Habilitation Center. Fitzgibbon's annual payroll is nearly $20 million and it employs approximately 560 staff and professionals.

"That's 560 employees receiving $20 million in salaries to help fuel our local economy," Jackson said.

Ott said the center would create about 10 new jobs for highly skilled professionals. These positions are well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, he said.

"These jobs will open up other opportunities for the community," Ott said.

Marshall Saline Development Corporation Executive Director Roy Hunter said there is a saying when one job is created five others will follow. He explained that when the center opens, more businesses related to the needs of cancer patients would come to the area. This also includes a few more jobs at gas stations, as the need for gas will arise.

Jackson said there have been several requests for a cancer treatment center in the area for many years.

"With over 700 new cases of cancer expected to be diagnosed in the Fitzgibbon service area each year, the Board of Trustees recognized the critical need for a cancer treatment here," he said. "A treatment center that would provide chemotherapy and radiation treatments."

He continued that a treatment center at Fitzgibbon would have a positive economic impact for Marshall businesses.

"Conservatively speaking, each out of town patient using the center could easily spend $50 to $75 per treatment at local restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations and the like," Jackson said. "With the average patient needing 30 radiation treatments or multiple chemotherapy treatments, it is obvious that Marshall businesses would benefit by having those dollars spend here locally instead of losing them to Columbia or Kansas City."

To date, the campaign has raised $3,708,000, which includes The Mabee Foundation grant, according to Carter.

"This campaign has been truly for the people," Jackson said.

Over $88,000 has been received from memorials.

"We have seen so many heartwarming examples of commitment to this project from kids donating lemonade stand money, county fair ham money, walk-a-thon money, folks donating golf tournament proceeds, service clubs the list goes on and on and on," Jackson said.

Keller said to give the board an idea of the communities commitment, "We have received 1,762 checks (to be exact) from the community to form the $88,000 worth of memorials."

The center will be a state-of-the-art facility with one of the best linear accelerators available.

"If we can't provide the very best, we don't provide it at all," Ott said.

"We all know we need it," said Marshall Mayor Connie Latimer. "We are getting really close and it would be a shame to miss that Mabee money."

She continued, the center would make "a major impact economically."

Latimer asked Ott to explain the private entrance to the center that will benefit patients.

"A lot of planning has been put in to make this a patient-friendly center," Ott said. The entrance to the facility makes it "almost a free standing unit, but it has access to MRI and CT scans (needed for some treatments)."

"We certainly understand the need by the community and the area," said board President Spencer Fricke.

Board Secretary Mike Mills asked the campaign committee about the electricity aspect of the new facility.

According to Ott, the linear machine will require a large amount of power. The new facility may even require its own service.

When the discussion came to attempting to fund the project, it was unanimous by the board to help where they could.

"It benefits all the community, whether we use it or not," said board Vice President Chuck Hird.

"I think we need to do all we can do," said Jim Heinzler, board member.

"I am not at all interested in writing a check," Mills said, but he was in favor of in-kind service.

Latimer said the way MMU is set up they were not allowed to write out a check but in-kind service was acceptable.

Ott said the utility bills at the hospital were about $600,000 per year. Mills said in the past the board has agreed to take so much off the monthly utility billing for businesses, such as ConAgra Foods, Wilson Foods and Kays Engineering Inc.

Administrative Services Director Ken Gieringer said this is called an "industrial incentive deal."

Keller said MMU could pledge to take about $18,000 per month off the electric bills for a 16-month period.

Mills said MMU could help the same way they did the Martin Community Center/Nicholas-Beazley Aviation Museum when they set a not-to-exceed price for service hook ups.

The board asked Gibbs and Administrative Services Director Ken Gieringer to bring back options to the board for consideration on helping the campaign meet their goal. Gibbs will look over building plans and figure up the service connection costs, while Gieringer works out an option for reduced billing for the period.

"We are going to try to do what we can," Fricke said, to the campaign committee.

Contact Rachel Harper at marshallcity@socket.net


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"With over 700 new cases of cancer expected to be diagnosed in the Fitzgibbon service area each year, the Board of Trustees recognized the critical need for a cancer treatment here," he said. "A treatment center that would provide chemotherapy and radiation treatments."

A cancer causing poison is being added to the water for no good reason. When is Marshall going to wake up?

-- Posted by Third Child on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 11:37 PM

Maybe they should ask the 911 Board- they seem to have an abundance of cash these days.

-- Posted by pumpkin08 on Tue, May 13, 2008, at 4:12 PM


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