Kevin Burns


Jackson County Regional Health Center Board of Trustees chairman

Do you want to help make decisions for Jackson County Regional Health Center? The board has an opening and is looking for a Jackson County resident who is interested in filling the vacancy.

The seat opened after trustee Leighton Hepker died Jan. 11. Hepker was appointed to the board in 2012, then won election to the seat in 2016.

JCRHC Board members decided to appoint a new board member instead of calling for a special election, according to board chairman Kevin Burns. 

Iowa law says the Board of Trustees may appoint someone to fill the seat, which the board has done in the past, Burns said. The appointee would serve the remainder of Hepker’s six-year term, which would expire Dec. 31, 2022.

Anyone who is interested in serving on the board should submit their name and short application letter to Janet Treat at Jackson County Regional Health Center, 700 W. Grove St., Maquoketa. 

“I anticipate that the board would act on appointing someone at either the March or April board meeting,” Burns said.

The seven-member board meets the fourth Tuesday of the month, so this month’s meeting will be March 26.

Remaining trustees are Burns, Gloria Jorgensen, Bob Specht, John Cressey, Jason Staner and Matt Osterhaus.

Another of those seats also might come up for appointment or election. Last December, Staner said he planned to resign sometime in 2019 because he was hired for a job in Davenport and would likely miss too many meetings due to new job demands. He said he wanted to see the new hospital get off to a good start before he resigned.

Staner had not resigned as of the February meeting.

The changes in JCRHC trustees comes as the hospital prepares to accept and award bids on a new facility. The board last month agreed to pay $683,859 for 25.8 acres of land located on the south end of 17th Street near Prairie Creek Golf Course and Wal-Mart, south of Maquoketa. That’s where the new facility will be built.

Bidding opens to contracts on March 11. Bids are due before 1 p.m. April 2.

The board plans to award contracts in mid-April and break ground on the 71,500-square-foot facility in May. 

The new hospital is estimated to cost about $36.8 million and will be paid for with money the hospital board has saved along with revenue bonds.

If all goes according to schedule, the new hospital could be open in January 2020.