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ISU hopes for deal on old hospital by end of year

Since the new Portneuf Medical Center opened last year, the old hospital has sat unused and empty, but a possible deal could put the old hospital back to work treating veterans.

Locked down and boarded up, the old site of Portneuf Medical Center in Pocatello has sat vacant for more than a year.

The Portneuf Healthcare Foundation is motivated to sell the building off, and get it in the hands of someone who’ll put it to use.

“The cost of overhead and maintenance and operation is extensive and no one wants to continue to bleed cash,” PHCF President and CEO Shawn Menchaca said.

The foundation thinks the building might just be a perfect fit for the university right next door.

“We’ve really searched high and low to find the best utilization for the property. And from my perspective our hope is that ISU could end up with some if not all of the campus,” Menchaca said.

And Idaho State University is on the same page. President Arthur Vailas said the building could fit a real need for returning soldiers.

“Maybe we ought to think about a way to help our veterans,” Vailas said.

Vailas hopes to turn the old hospital into a veteran’s clinic, so former servicemen and women don’t have to travel hours for medical treatment.

If the two sides can work out a deal the clinic would provide care for veterans and hands on education for students.

“While I won’t give you the whole details. I can tell the public that is almost a deal you can’t turn down, the deal that we proposed to ISU,” Menchaca said.

If that’s so, Vailas said he’d like to get things moving forward soon.

“We’d like to see something happen this year. Certainly we’d like some plan,” Vailas said.

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