Roeland Park City Council approves micro-hospital plan, holds off on bank

Small hospital planned for Roeland Park.
Small hospital planned for Roeland Park.

An eight-bed hospital planned for Roe Avenue and Johnson Drive was approved by the Roeland Park City Council Monday, but consideration of an adjoining Commerce Bank branch was delayed over design concerns.

The Council unanimously approved the approximately 17,000 square-foot hospital, which would also include an emergency room, after three hours of discussion. The project is expected to be completed by late 2017.

And while the Council approved the 2,325 square-foot bank proposal in concept, members balked at the uniform brick design preferred by Commerce with its clock tower topped by a green pyramid roof, and asked that it be tweaked.

“This is one of the gateways to our city,” said Councilmember Michael Poppa. “We’re not trying to be difficult, we just want the best building we can have.”

Architect Matt Masilionis of RMTA said the design is one the bank wants as a corporate identity for its branches and tried to persuade the Council to accept it.

“I don’t want to be hard-headed, but we’ve gone down that road and worked extremely hard with the bank,” he said.

Still, when confronted with what appeared to be a Council united against the proposed bank design, development attorney Aaron March of White Goss suggested the plan move forward for the hospital and the bank return later with a revised plan.

The micro-hospital is being developed by Embree Asset Group of Georgetown, Texas, and is one of three being planned in Johnson County. Earlier in the day, Overland Park approved plans for one at 75th and Metcalf. The other is proposed for Leawood.

And while Embree representative Steve Kirkpatrick would not disclose the hospital operator, Roeland Park Council member Michael Rhoades cited a published report in which St. Luke’s Health System was named as the operator.

The hospital, which will be located at the northwest corner of the intersection, will have a 10-member staff and be capable of handling Level 4 trauma patients. Level 1 is the most severe trauma facility, Level 5 is the least.

Kirkpatrick said it will be a facility where most if not all patients will bring themselves or be brought by others, not conveyed by an ambulance. Ambulances would only be used to transport patients after they’ve been stabilized to hospitals with more specialized care.

It’s been described as filling the gap between the urgent care services provided at some pharmacies and the emergency rooms of major hospitals.

The facility will have a 10-member staff and be equipped with a computerized tomography (CT) and X-ray machines. An average of 30- to 35 patients daily are expected. No outpatient services will be provided.

The Council approved the hospital plan with the conditions proposed by city staff and the City Planning Commission including the facility be limited to no larger than 20,000 square-feet, noise levels below 60 decibels, public art be reserved for the corner and signs be limited to the building facade.

City officials have estimated the $6 million to $9 million development, including the bank, will yield about $51,000 in annual property taxes.