SRA paves way for new hospital
Last updated 8/9/2022 at 6:54pm
The new Gisela Houseman Medical Complex with hospital got another boost Tuesday when the Sabine River Authority of Texas gave $220,000 to Orange County to help pay for the infrastructure in the new construction.
David Montagne, SRA general manager, and longtime Board of Directors member Earl Williams of Orange County presented Commissioners Court with a mock check. Montagne said Williams had the idea to help the county. Williams commented that a hospital will help the county with economic development.
The medical complex is already under construction at a 20-acre commercial site along Highway 62 at the Interstate 10 intersection. The SRA money will be used to install the water and wastewater systems for the building.
The planned first phase will include an emergency room hospital that will be open 24 hours a day. The 55,000 square foot complex will also have outpatient diagnostic services along with space for physicians to rent. Christus healthcare will oversee the emergency room.
Orange County has been without a hospital since Baptist Hospital Orange on Strickland Drive with 122 beds closed seven years. The Baptist healthcare system kept the emergency room open another year, but closed it in 2016.
The complex is being named in honor of local developer and philanthropist Gisela Houseman, who donated the acreage for the medical building. The City of Orange Economic Development Corporation has also played a major role in the creation, plus longtime physician Dr. Marty Rutledge helped lead the move to get a hospital.
Tuesday was also a big day for the Orangefield Water Service. Commissioners accepted a $350,000 federal Community Development Block Grant for the water service. County Judge John Gothia said the water service asked the county to apply for the grant for improvements.
The court decided not to make a decision on installing a four-way stop at the intersection of Patillo Road and Briggs in the Victory Gardens area of Precinct 3. At the previous meeting, a resident in the neighborhood asked commissioners to do something to slow speeding pickup trucks. The four-way stop could make that happen.
Even though County Engineer Corey Oldbury said the county could put up notification signs and not have a public hearing, commissioners agreed to hold a public hearing. They hope the hearing can be later this month, but it will depend on how notifications can be placed in a newspaper.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Johnny Trahan said he has some streets that also need stop signs, including Timberlane and Little Cypress Drive at West Bluff Road. Commissioners will get a list of all proposed stop sign installations for the public hearing.
Other business included approving paying the insurance premiums for liability at the Orange County Airport on Highway 87 South. Commissioners opted not to pay extra for coverage of acts of terrorism or war.
Commissioners told Assistant County Attorney Denise Gremillion to continue the work on a right-of-way contract for installations of a Chevron Phillips Chemical Company pipelines across the airport. The county has given permission before for pipeline right-of-way on airport property, but this project will put pipelines underneath a runway.
Gremillion said the pipeline under the runway will be installed 55 feet underneath, rather than the standard three to six feet below the top ground. She said all the pipeline installation and work will need to be approved by the FAA. The pipeline is to be installed by boring and not digging up the runway.
A proposed new multi-billion-dollar Chevron Phillips Chemical plant has been proposed for acreage across the street from the airport. Even though Chevron Phillips corporation has not given final approval for construction of the plant, the site has been cleared and is being prepared for a large industrial construction project.