BCHC gains $23.2 million USDA loan approval for building project

Boone County Health Center in Albion has been approved as the recipient of a $23,218,000 loan for its planned construction project from the U.S. Department of Agriculture with terms of 40 years at four percent rate of interest.
This loan is not yet final, pending approval by the BCHC Board of Trustees. The board will consider the loan terms and conditions at its next meeting on Tuesday, March 26.
“This is great news for us, and we are excited,” said Tanya Sharp, president and CEO of the health center. She said the loan approval process has taken about six months and was slowed by the recent federal government shutdown.
A planning meeting with the project architect is scheduled for this Thursday, March 21.
Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley announced March 18 that USDA is investing $91 million to build or improve community facilities and essential services for nearly 300,000 rural residents in 12 states.
“Modern community facilities are key drivers of economic development,” Baxley said. “Under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in building and maintaining these institutions that are foundational to quality of life and prosperity.”
As proposed, the Boone County Health Center would use the USDA funding to construct a new 47,337 square foot addition to the hospital and renovate 4,200 square feet of existing space. The total project costs are estimated at $40,187,720.
The improvements are needed to meet the health center’s growing demand for services for 13,629 residents. USDA said the project will save 225 jobs.
USDA is funding 16 projects through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. The funding helps rural small towns, cities and communities make infrastructure improvements and provide essential facilities such as public schools, libraries, courthouses, public safety facilities, hospitals, colleges and day care centers.
The projects announced today are in Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.
More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Applicants and projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.
In April 2017, President Donald Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America.