Funds would help cover water, parking lot work

Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) officials hope to know by this fall if they have received a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Association (EDA) to help fund public infrastructure work related to the construction of a new cancer center.
PCRMC, with the help of the Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) have applied for $1.4 million through the EDA assistance program to help pay for work related to parking lots, water lines and stormwater improvements, according to Candace Connell, board president of the Phelps Regional Health Care Foundation.
Connell and Lorrie Hartley, executive director of the foundation, along with PCRMC CEO John Denbo said hospital officials decided to explore grant opportunities to help offset the costs of construction the new Delbert Day Cancer Institute.
The Phelps County Commission at its Aug. 12 meeting approved a resolution supporting the hospital’s grant application for the project.
If the grant is approved, that funding would cover about half of the costs needed for public infrastructure, with the hospital providing another $1.4 million match.
Denbo said work is already underway to expand parking spaces at the hospital since the Delbert Day Cancer Institute will be constructed on existing parking lots, and more parking will be needed for the cancer center. The hospital has acquired nearby land to help “absorb the deficit,” Denbo said.
The cancer center will be built on the main hospital campus off 10th Street in Rolla on the north side of the PCRMC Medical Office Building.
According to Denbo, the hospital estimates it will need to add 500 additional parking spaces.
Denbo, Hartley and Connell said they believe EDA officials expressed interest in consideration of funding the public infrastructure project at the hospital because of the hospital’s existing partnership with MoSci and its potential partnership with Missouri University of Science and Technology to conduct research at the cancer center.
Denbo said hospital officials are in talks with Missouri S&T officials about how they might partner with PCRMC for not just cancer research, but biomedical research, too. Denbo said the hospital has already had “a certain amount of success with the MoSci partnership.”
According to Denbo, the latest estimate for all construction costs related to the Delbert Day Cancer Institute totals approximately $31 million, but that does not include the cost of some major items of equipment.
In December 2013, the foundation launched a public campaign with a goal to raise $7 million for the new cancer center. If the EDA grant is approved, those funds would be included in the foundation’s goal.
Assuming that funding is approved, the capital campaign has raised $6.5 million, and Hartley said she expects to meet that $7 million goal by the end of the year.
Before the public campaign was launched at the end of 2013, Hartley said a total of $4.6 million had been raised.
 PCRMC first announced the creation of the Delbert Day Cancer Institute in 2011.
Denbo said the hospital had never tackled such a large fundraising effort like this before.
“It was a lofty goal, but I’m ecstatic we’re so close,” the CEO said about raising so many funds in a short amount of time. He said that support from the community makes quite a statement.
Denbo said the vision for the cancer institute is to bring already existing resources for cancer patients together at one location.
This will mean less driving around to different areas for cancer patients, Denbo said.
Having all resources together in one location also allows for better coordination. “It won’t just be geographically integrated, but functionally integrated as well,” Denbo said.
The center also allows the hospital to expand its cancer services with state-of-the-art treatment and equipment, Denbo said.
For more information on how people can help the Delbert Day Cancer Institute campaign, visit