MONTICELLO – More than $1 million in repairs, updates and upgrades are necessary at the Piatt County Nursing Home, a consultant told officials last week.
The Piatt County Nursing Home lost 12 residents in December of 2020 to COVID-19 and officials want to be prepared for a return of the virus or any future communicable diseases.
To help mitigate the spread of airborne virus in the future, Scott Porter, the nursing home’s executive director, says the time has come to update the electrical system and most importantly, it’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system.
Jim Gleason of GHR Engineers and Associates, based in Champaign, told the Nursing Home Committee that he has studied the facility at Porter’s request and found that the power system – specifically the generator back-up – and the ventilation system need upgrades.
“There are deficiencies with the generator back-up and if needed, would need manual intervention to keep the power load down to a point low enough where it would run,” he said. “With the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system), the building was constructed using the natural ventilation option which basically means there is very little mechanical ventilation.”
Gleason said a review of Illinois Department of Public Health standards indicated a room temperature air ventilation system was required. The cost estimated was $767,000.
The current piping system which carries hot and cold water, was also studied and has failed, Gleason said.
The committee faces two main issues. First, the timeline of the project is still to be determined, but Gleason said that it could take more than a year to get a generator.
“Supply chain issues,” he said.
Secondly, the county needs funds to pay for the project.
Until the bids for the work are received, officials are working on estimated costs.
“The first thing that we need to do is get a contract with the county so we can start the design process,” Gleason said.
After a contract is signed, the engineering firm will begin working on construction documents – the plans and specifications – to send to the IDPH. After approval, bidding for the contracts will begin, a construction schedule will be finalized, the bids will be approved, construction contracts will be signed, and then the delivery cycle will begin, Gleason said.
“The lead times on this equipment are murderous,” he said. “It probably won’t be bad on the ventilation equipment, maybe something like 16 weeks. But generators are 46 to 50 weeks and that is currently…. The total elapsed time is approximately 81 weeks and that is a long time. So we have to get going on this thing.”
Gleason added that the quicker the county moves on the project, the better off it will be.
“The current state of inflation is not good,” he said. “I had a contractor tell me the other day that his quote is good until he hangs up the phone. There is a cost to wait.”
But county officials have to determine how to pay for it.
“The first step is that we have to secure funding,” said County Board Chairman Ray Spencer.
The county will get $215,000 to help pay for the generator from a federal grant through Rodney Davis’ office, and Porter has promised to look for other grants.
There is still about $750,000 available in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
“But we have other board members …….