County proceeding with renovation plans of Cushing building

John Richmeier

The Leavenworth County government could seek bids for renovating a portion of the former Saint Luke's Cushing Hospital building as early as August.

Aaron Yoakam, buildings and grounds director for the county, said architects currently are focusing on remodeling the first floor so the county's Council on Aging can move into the building. He said architects also have identified space on the first floor for other tenants.

"They've identified areas that are open for future tenants," he said.

Saint Luke's Cushing Hospital in Leavenworth closed in October, and the building was donated to the county government.

The Council on Aging currently operates out of a building that is not owned by the county.

Commissioners have discussed moving the Council on Aging and possibly other county agencies into the Cushing building. They also have discussed allowing outside organizations to utilize some of the space in the building.

The County Commission already has entered into a lease agreement with a company that plans to operate a for-profit psychiatric hospital on the third floor of the building.

In April, commissioners hired the Kansas City, Missouri, firm of ACI Boland Architects for design work for the renovation of the Cushing building.

Last week, commissioners entered into a formal contract with the firm.

Under the terms of the contract, the county agrees to pay the firm 7% of the total cost of the renovation project, Yoakam said.

He said the architectural firm already has created a schematic design that indicates what area of the first floor will be used by the Council on Aging and what areas may be available for other tenants.

Yoakam said the first floor of the Cushing building has about 42,000 square feet.

According to information provided to commissioners, the Council on Aging will use approximately 19,569 square feet of the first floor.

Yoakam said a little more than 1,000 square feet of the first floor will be used by Signature Behavioral Hospital Operations, the company that will be operating a psychiatric hospital on the third floor. Signature Behavioral Hospital Operations’ parent company is CenterPointe Behavioral Health System, Brentwood, Tennessee.

Yoakam said the space used by the company on the first floor will serve as an entrance to the psychiatric hospital.

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