Commissioners discuss future of Cushing building

John Richmeier

Leavenworth County commissioners have started discussing how they want to use the former Saint Luke’s Cushing Hospital building.

The Leavenworth hospital closed in October and the building was donated to the county government.

Commissioners discussed the building this past week during a work session.

Senior County Counselor David Van Parys informed commissioners that the transfer of ownership of the property has been completed.

“You do have lawful ownership of the building,” he said.

Commissioners made no final decisions about how the building will be used, but there seemed to be agreement about eventually moving the Council on Aging to that location.

Currently, the county government leases a building in Leavenworth for the Council on Aging.

County Administrator Mark Loughry suggested the Leavenworth County Health Department also could be moved to the Cushing building without the need for much remodeling.

Commissioner Vicky Kaaz said several organizations reached out to her about using space at the former hospital.

Commissioner Jeff Culbertson suggested the building can be divided into separate parcels to allow for-profit entities in one area while maintaining a tax-exempt status for another portion of the building.

Loughry suggested focusing on the needs for county operations before opening up the building to outside agencies.

Loughry said he can start meeting with the leaders of county departments to discuss needs.

Aaron Yoakam, buildings and grounds superintendent for the county, said the former hospital building has more the 97,000 square feet. He suggested commissioners first focus on the building’s first floor, which has more than 41,000 square feet.

“I would start with that floor,” he said.

Kaaz suggested commissioners should walk through the facility.

Commissioners gave their OK for Yoakam to prepare a document to seek information from architectural firms related to potential work on the first floor of the building.

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