Banner's Pinal hospital opening still a mystery - East Valley Tribune: News

Banner's Pinal hospital opening still a mystery

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Posted: Saturday, October 31, 2009 12:40 am | Updated: 12:34 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Banner Health plans to announce a timeline for opening its new Ironwood location by the end of the year. Meanwhile, Queen Creek and Banner are continuing talks on annexing the hospital into the town.

Banner Health plans to announce a timeline for opening its new Ironwood location by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Queen Creek and Banner are continuing talks on annexing the hospital into the town, which Town Manager John Kross hopes will happen by the time the facility starts accepting patients.

Banner hoped to open the $128 million first phase of the Banner Ironwood Medical Campus, located at Gantzel and Combs roads in Pinal County, this November. But the company announced last year that opening date would be pushed out due to economic conditions.

Banner had originally said the date would be delayed a year. On Friday, Banner spokeswoman Susan Gordon said an exact date is still being determined.

"We'll be making an announcement before the end of the year," Gordon said. "We will open. It's just a question of when."

Construction is pretty much complete at this point, although some more work will have to be done to install equipment once an opening date is set, Gordon said.

The hospital met with town representatives this week, which was the first time the two sides had talked in a while, Kross said.

But both groups say they're still working to annex the hospital into the town.

Banner Ironwood was built in unincorporated Pinal County in an area that was recently named San Tan Valley. Queen Creek annexed land near the hospital site last September, but has yet to annex the hospital itself.

Kross would like the hospital to open with a Queen Creek address, although Gordon said the hospital's timeline probably isn't as strong for annexation.

Having the hospital in Queen Creek instead of a couple of miles outside of its border will serve as a catalyst for economic development in the southeastern part of town, Kross said.

"From an economic development standpoint, it's extremely important," Kross said. "When our economic development department goes to market the town to businesses, we can tell them we have a major hospital in Queen Creek."

Access to emergency services and infrastructure is the hospital's primary benefit to annexation, Gordon said.

Impact for things like medical support offices are also lower in Queen Creek than they are in unincorporated Pinal County.

There are a few more hurdles Queen Creek will have to jump before it can annex the hospital.

For instance, since there's a shopping center between the hospital and town limits, that shopping center will have to be annexed with the hospital, Kross said.

Kross said talks with Barclay Group, the shopping center's management company, are going well.

The person at Barclay Group with information on annexation talks wasn't available Friday because the office was in the process of moving.

Contact writer: (480)898-6574 or akeim@evtrib.com

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