by Gary Noland
For the Pathfinder
February 17, 2000
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana
Trustees for the Seeley Swan Medical Center are seeking qualified architects and contractor firms for proposals on construction of a new facility that will be located in the Deer Park Addition along Highway 83 in Seeley Lake.
Tim Love, chairperson of the trustee board, said a $150,000 grant from the Chutney Foundation, an Ovando family foundation, has made it possible to purchase land in the Deer Park addition at a cost of $131,000.
The will give the medical center increased exposure over its present location on side roads off Highway 83 at the north edge of Seeley Lake.
Love said the 3.5 acres in the Deer Park Addition was the "best property for its price available," in the opinion of the trustees who felt better access and visibility were important.
Lot number three in the commercial subdivision was purchased from Dave Stewart, Lindbergh Lake developer of the Deer Park Addition a few years ago.
The medical center will be the first construction in a subdivision with several lots on the east side of Highway 83 between the 1-Stop Convenience Store and Wold's Valley Market. The lot location is about halfway between the 1-Stop and the Lazy Pine Mall.
Love said he expects construction to start in May with completion this fall.
The current property off Cottonwood Lakes Road and across from the Living Waters Catholic Church, will be sold, Love said. But by building in a new location, the center will be able to continue to operate while construction is going on.
That would have been difficult if the new facility would have been built adjacent to the present facility, Love said.
The trustees have a total of $650,000 available for the construction process and land acquisition, and there will be no taxpayer costs, Love said.
Last summer the United States Department of Agriculture approved a $400,000 interest-free loan through Blackfoot Telephone Cooperative, and in October last year the Chutney Foundation, funded by the estates of Tom Edwin and Cora Buhl Barbour of Ovando, granted the district $150,000. Other funds will come from the sale of the current property, plus anonymous gifts the center has received$10,000 just recently.
The new center, at approximately 2,600 square feet, will be almost double the size of the current facility. There will be a grassy between the center and the highway, leaving enough room for landings of life-flight helicopters, if need be.
Additionally, the lot has been plotted to allow for the construction of about five more buildings of similar size that would hopefully house health-related professionals, Love said.
Trustees for the health center district, in addition to Love, are Mary Ann Morin, vice-chairperson, and trustees Jack Kopps, Keith Peterson, and Mari Ann Judge, a retired nurse from Condon who replaced Anita Ryan last fall when Ryan moved from the area.
In April elections this year, Morin, Peterson and Judge positions will be up for election. All three have filed to retain their positions.