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Norman City Council votes to approve bonds for Norman Regional Health System expansion

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Norman City Council

A Norman City Council meeting Sept. 11, 2018.

At its Nov. 12 meeting, the Norman City Council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution to approve a bond issuance for the Norman Regional Health System’s Inspire Health Plan.

According to the Norman City Council Staff Report, the first phase of the Inspire Health Plan includes the development of a “free-standing emergency department in southeast Norman, expansion of and consolidation to the HealthPlex campus, including additional beds, an ambulatory pavilion and a cancer center.” It will be located off Highway 9 and 24th Avenue Southeast. 

The council’s unanimous vote will allow the Norman Regional Health System to fund part of phase one with tax-exempt debt. According to a letter of intent from the Norman Regional Health System, the Highway 9 and 24th site is projected to be completed within 24 months of funding.

Norman Regional Health System President and CEO Richie Splitt spoke to the council members about the program and improvements made since the last meeting. Since September, the NRHS has hosted 10, and still plans to host another, “Inspire Health Community Forum” to inform citizens and address their concerns.

“This is actually an opportunity to elevate that area, to have a spark of renewal, it’s a rebirth ... I am confident this sort of renewal will have a positive effect on those owners of businesses, and those who live in and around the Porter campus,” Splitt said.

The council was originally set to vote on the bond on Sept. 24, but it was postponed to Tuesday evening’s meeting for further deliberation before a final vote.

“One of my goals in voting to postpone the Inspire Health vote was to use that time for community engagement, listen to constituents who support the plan, those who oppose the plan, and all of the questions and all of the questions and concerns in between,” said Councilman Lee Hall of Ward 4. “The conclusion I have arrived at is that maintaining the status quo actually leads to greater uncertainty than moving forward with the Inspire Health Plan.”

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