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Progress Report: Mercy plans new clinic/urgent care on old Branson Inn site

Medical center will also include surgical and pharmacy services

January 09, 2013|by Mike Landis, KY3 News | mlandis@ky3.com

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- These are certainly boom times for Mercy Hospital.  The health conglomerate is constructing a new hospital in Joplin, a children's hospital in Springfield, and a sprawling orthopedic facility along U.S. 65 at Evans Road in Springfield.   This week came the announcement Mercy is also adding a rehabilitation hospital at the up-and-coming Evans Road/south campus.

Now, Branson joins the list.

Mercy hopes to build a specialty clinic and urgent care facility on the site of the closed and rundown Branson Inn off U.S. 65 at Missouri 248.

"We don't plan to repurpose the hotel in any former fashion.  We will be doing demolition fairly quickly," said Rob Steele, senior vice president of Market Growth and Development at Mercy.

In its place will be a 62,000-square-foot outpatient facility.

"For the folks in Branson that typically would have to come up to Springfield to get that care, they can get that in their hometown," Steele said.

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This project is being built on the site of unfulfilled dreams.  In 2006, local developers (including HCW Development, developer of Branson Landing) wanted to construct a massive building on the site.  The 25- to 30-story tower would have included shops and a hotel.  It would have been the tallest building in Missouri outside of Kansas City and St. Louis. 

The deal never came to pass.  However, Mercy says the property is still zoned for a skyscraper.

"We don’t anticipate building a 30-story building, but we could if we wanted to," Steele said with a laugh.

Mercy says its clinic will be about two stories - for now.  It will also be on the hill overlooking the former Skaggs Hospital.   Cox Health just began its partnership with Skaggs and promises to invest millions for upgrades.

"So, it would seem like there would be this obvious coincidence. We have actually had this on the drawing board since 2008," Steele said

Mercy hopes to break ground on its new facility sometime this summer.

Hospital official say they are also in talks to purchase the old Oak Ridge Boys theater property, which adjoins the Branson Inn site.
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Edited news release from Mercy on Thursday:

An abandoned motel in Branson will soon be replaced with a large new Mercy clinic that will offer the community enhanced health care services.

The Branson Inn on U.S. at Missouri 248 will be demolished to make way for a 62,000-square-foot, two-story clinic.  The building cost is estimated at $34 million.  Along with increasing the number of primary care doctors, the clinic will also feature urgent care, pharmacy, imaging and surgery.  In addition, more specialists will be visiting patients in Branson on a regular basis.

“This expansion made perfect sense,” said Dr. Rob Steele, Mercy senior vice president of Market Growth and Development.  “We have served patients in Stone and Taney counties for years, and this builds upon those relationships.  Our research found many people are underserved when it comes to health care in that community and we want to fill that need.”

While a date isn’t set for groundbreaking, Mercy hopes to remove the Branson Inn by this spring.

“When we see a need for care, we act,” said Jon Swope, president and CEO of Mercy Springfield Communities.  “We know a lot of these patients come to Springfield for care so our hope is we can bring more of that care to them.”

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