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Contractor the link between delayed hospital projects

Posted May 7, 2015
Updated May 9, 2015

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— Two much-needed state projects, totaling more than $300 million in taxpayer money are a combined five years behind schedule, and the delays are adding problems to an already strained mental health system.

The first project is Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro. A new facility is planned for the campus that would bring an additional 117 beds. The other project is Broughton Hospital, planned for Morganton, which would create 100 new beds.

The common thread: contractor Archer Western.

"I think it would be fair to say that we do not anticipate using this contractor in the future," said Dale Armstrong, spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

In October 2010, state leaders were all smiles at the Cherry Hospital groundbreaking. More than four years later, the hospital is incomplete, and the state's patience is growing thin with contractor Archer Western.

"It's been extremely frustrating," said DHHS spokesman Dale Armstrong. "It's frustrating that there's a need in the community for those beds, but yet we haven't been able to bring those beds online."

The state blames several factors for the delays.

Armstrong said an electrical contractor defaulted, setting off a chain reaction.

The Broughton project in Morganton was supposed to open months ago but was plagued by problems from the outset.

There is a silver lining. Neither project is over budget, and, once complete, both will mean improved access to care for the mentally ill.

"Once we're there, once we're in, we have many years ahead of us that we'll benefit from this," he said.


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  • Jacob Smith May 9, 2015
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    I agree but would go further to say that the lowest bid is not always the most cost effective in the long run.

    A system of vetting a contractors way of doing business and ability to complete the project, similar to what DoD (military) uses, is needed.

  • Matt Wood May 8, 2015
    user avatar

    They need to do like other states and include penalties in the contracts for when the project is overdue.