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Published: Wednesday, 4/6/2005

Lucas County bond issue OK'd for renovation of Toledo Hospital


Lucas County commissioners yesterday approved issuing up to $175 million in bonds to ProMedica Health System to help pay for the previously announced renovation of Toledo Hospital, a deal that allows the health care organization to get lower interest rates.

The county isn't obligated financially by issuing the bonds. But because the county can get lower bond rates, ProMedica wanted the issuance through the county.

ProMedica went to the commissioners last fall to notify them of the request, and yesterday was the day of the formal approval of authority to issue the bonds. Most of the money - about $115 million - will fund the renovations at ProMedica-owned Toledo Hospital. That $200 million project has begun and is to be completed in 2007.

A component of the renovation to be funded by the bonds will be construction of a seven-story, 279-bed patient complex on the Toledo Hospital campus. The bonds won't cover all of the renovation costs; the rest will come from ProMedica, its foundations, fund-raising efforts, and other sources.

ProMedica officials will ask Toledo's plan commission next week to approve a zoning change for areas on or near the hospital to make room for expansion, which it expects to start in earnest in July.

Though most of the bond revenue will help pay for the Toledo Hospital renovation, some of it also will pay for an expansion of ProMedica-owned Herrick Memorial Hospital in Tecumseh and renovations elsewhere in the ProMedica organization, according to Kathy Hanley, ProMedica's chief financial officer.

The one part of the bond request that changed from last fall was increasing the amount of bonds ProMedica may eventually ask for by about $50 million. Ms. Hanley said that would not be for any new projects, but to refund existing bonds held by the company in an attempt to get better interest rates.

ProMedica, the largest employer in Lucas County, has said its construction plans for the Toledo Hospital renovation could add 1,500 or more construction jobs and an undetermined number of hospital jobs.

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