By Lorie Palmer
Idaho County Free Press
KOOSKIA – The Syringa Hospital Foundation (SHF) announced July 30 it will not move forward with purchasing the Baylor Building on Main Street where the Kooskia Syringa Clinic is located.
SHF is an independent non-profit organization that supports the mission and endeavors of Syringa Hospital & Clinics (SHC). They had recently pursued an opportunity to purchase the building; however, following negotiations with the owners, SHF decided not to move forward with that plan.
SHF director, Kristi Brooks, reported at the July board meeting the owner had made a specific offer to sell to the hospital; however, Brooks said she felt “a lot of angst” within the board members and said maybe they needed to revisit their previous discussions and decisions, adding that St. Mary’s had just opened a brand new medical facility in Kamiah. “Do we know the loyalty of our customers?” she asked at the meeting.
She also explained Syringa has seven years remaining on its Kooskia Clinic lease, no matter who owns the building, with a no-more than 10 percent rent increase built into the contract. SHC board chair Leta Strauss had expressed uncertainly about putting money into a building at this point in time. “With the way our world is and the advent of telemedicine, I’m not sure putting money into bricks and mortar is in our best interests,” she offered.
The foundation had previously agreed to provide a certain amount of funding to assist in purchasing the property. Trustee Jim Zumwalt said he wondered what kind of message not purchasing the building may say to the community of Kooskia. “What is our desired footprint?” he had asked. SHC put out a press release July 30 that stated they “remain committed to providing the Kooskia community the quality healthcare experience they deserve and plans to remain in their current location.”
“This was strictly a real estate decision on whether owning this building would improve our ability to support the mission of the hospital” said Brooks. “There has never been a question about providing services in Kooskia; we remain committed to our patients and the community of Kooskia.” SHF had multiple conversations about the opportunity and felt that since services would not be impacted, it would be better for the organization and the patients it serves to allocate such funds to equipment needs of Syringa Hospital District.
The board had entered into executive decision at both the July and August meetings to discuss the potential purchase.
Trustee Jim May recused himself as the Baylor Building belongs to his sister. Zillow previously listed the Kooskia real estate at $230,000.