09/24/10 — What's next for Cherry?

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What's next for Cherry?

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on September 24, 2010 1:46 PM

Construction on the new Cherry Hospital, just a half-mile down the road from the current facility, is set to begin with a groundbreaking scheduled for Oct. 1.

Terry Hatcher, director of the state Department of Health and Human Services Division of Property and Construction, explained that the contract was awarded to Archer Western Contractors, which bid out of the company's Morrisville office.

Hatcher said Archer Western's bid came in at approximately $93.34 million -- the lowest bid by far, and well under the $100 million budgeted by the state.

"That's going to give us the opportunity to buy the equipment and other things we need to go with the project," he said.

Also bidding were two local companies -- T.A. Loving Co. with $101.56 million and R.N. Rouse with $101.44 million, although Rouse is actually owned by Danis Corp of Ohio. Barnhill Construction in Tarboro was the third company in eastern North Carolina to bid with a $97.18 million offer.

"That (Archer Western) is a big outfit," Hatcher said.

Most recently, he said, the company was responsible for the expansion at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, but it also has experience building medical facilities.

And he acknowledged that while it might have been ideal for a Goldsboro company to win the Cherry contract, the bottom line is that state officials have to go with the low bid.

"These were all pre-qualified, meaning we looked at every one of them and made sure they had the background experience," Hatcher said.

And the contract, he explained, is only for the actual construction of the 410,000-square-foot, 318-bed facility, not any of its equipment or internal furnishings.

The project is expected to take 26 months.

The address of the new facility will be 1401 W. Ash St., about a half mile from the existing Cherry Hospital next to the State Employee's Credit Union.