Columbus Regional Health says it plans to demolish the former Clarion Hotel and Conference Center in the Bartholomew County city and build a new facility. The health system purchased the 21-acre property from German American Capital Corp. at a foreclosure auction earlier this month. The price of the acquisition is $4.5 million.
In an open letter to the community, Columbus Regional Health Chief Executive Officer Jim Bickel says the physical structure of the former hotel is "suffering," which led to the decision to demolish it. Final plans for the property have not been determined, however the health system says it has identified a number of potential uses.
Bickel says the facility will allow the health system to continue its growth along with that of the community.
"We recognize the Clarion Hotel, formerly the Holiday Inn, has served this community in various ways for more than 50 years. It is a very well-known and prominent site, which is why Columbus Regional Health had an interest in it," Bickel said in a news release. "The west side of our community continues to experience both residential and business growth, which warrants serious consideration of healthcare service expansion in the area as well. As a health system we continue to grow; an expansion of our services close to where our patients live and work is important to fulfilling our mission to improve the health and well-being of the people we serve."
Bickel says the Columbus Regional Health is aiming to preserve the "historic and nostalgic pieces of the facility" with the help of nonprofit organizations and community groups so they may be reused throughout the city. The health system is also working to connect with former hotel employees to see if they may be eligible for future employment opportunities.