The Butler County Health Care Center (BCHCC) has plans to build an auditory clinic on the soccer fields east of the Witter Family Medicine building.
BCHCC CEO Don Naiberk said the goal is to offer a full range of auditory services. People will be able to get their hearing tested, receive prescriptions for hearing aids and get hearing aids adjusted.
“It’s not like it’s going to be a service provided five days a week but it’ll be open two or three days a week. But I think we’ll be able to service this community and some communities around Butler County, even, if necessary,” Naiberk said.
The building will also be home to some hospital business and administration offices, Naiberk said.
The land takes up about a city block and is currently home to the Witter Family Medicine building and an ambulance garage. The rest serves as soccer fields. The plan is to build a 4,100 square foot building on the soccer fields.
Although the hospital maintains the land, it is owned by the county. Before the hospital can start construction on the new building, the project must be approved by the Butler County Board of Supervisors.
Naiberk said there is a longstanding unspoken agreement between the hospital and the board that the soccer fields east of the hospital are to be used by the hospital for expansion.
Butler County Attorney Julie Reiter said the board will likely discuss the issue at its second meeting this month, which is set to take place on July 20.
“The hospital is a county-owned hospital but they’re under a completely different set of statutes. They’re county-owned, but they’re a completely different entity. The county owns the land and so we’re just going to make sure there’s no question that the hospital has the right the build on that land,” Reiter said.
Reiter said the issue of approval is procedural and the hospital will be able to build on the land.
According to Naiberk, the hospital has a building plan completed and a contractor ready to go once they get approval. After getting approval from the county, Naiberk said the hospital hopes to begin construction on the audiology clinic by Sept. 1. The goal, he said, is to have the clinic open sometime in April 2021.
Naiberk said he began considering the construction of an audiology clinic over a year ago after being approached by local audiologist Kristin Sheele. Sheele lives in David City and is a Butler County native.
“She graduated from East Butler High School,” Naiberk said. “She wanted to move back to the community and she did. She was working in Lincoln.”
Naiberk said he looked for an empty building in downtown David City where the clinic could be located, but eventually decided the hospital would need to construct a new building.
They’ve been looking into constructing a new building for the last four or five months, Naiberk said.
Naiberk said the soccer fields located on the site are not heavily used.
“You see some kids practicing flag football in the fall. The metal goalposts are still there, there’s not nets anything over there. And once in a while, you’ll see adults over there playing a pick-up game of soccer,” Naiberk said.
There is a need for audiology services in the area, Naiberk noted.
“When you live in a community that has quite a few older folks, the geriatric population, you see more hearing loss in the geriatric population," Naiberk said. "We live in an area that there’s predominately agriculture-based workers and those folks tend to have more hearing issues later in life. And when you look at David City there is a lot of manufacturing as well. So I think there’s a lot of occupational exposure and then we just have an older population."
Molly Hunter is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach her via email at email@example.com.
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