JUDGE: RISD will make good use of the Rockdale Hospital building
Last week on the County Judge radio show Karolyn Puccio of the Rockdale Hospital District announced that the former Rockdale Hospital and Clinic will be donated to the Rockdale Independent School District.
The hospital and clinic closed in December 2018 when its owner filed for bankruptcy. Since then, the Hospital District has kept the buildings in pristine condition. It has tried repeatedly to find another purpose for the facility. It has sought the help of our Congressman, State Senator and State Representative and many others, all of which have been very helpful. But, it is clear that rural hospitals in general and those in Milam County in particular are simply not profitable.
The Rockdale ISD is in need of more space. For some time there has been a need to expand its Career and Technical Education (CTE) program. CTE is the practice of teaching specific career skills to students in middle school, high school, and post-secondary institutions. This prepares students for a career in lieu of a four-year degree program. Today there is such a need for those with skills and CTE teaches those skills, which makes it easier to find a job. Thus, the additional 40,000 square feet of space can certainly be used for this most important purpose.
In addition, our partners at Temple College want space in Milam County for post graduate work. Temple College is a tremendous institution that provides all types of degree and non-degree educational paths for higher learning. We want and need Temple College in the County, but until now, we simply could not find adequate space. This is the perfect fit as there is adequate space and it will be convenient. Further, under the direction of President, Dr. Christina Ponce, Temple College has applied for a large grant that, if awarded would pay for much of the renovation costs!
In addition, the Healthpoint Medical Clinic will remain in operation as it currently is at the facility. In fact, the Rockdale Hospital District will continue to pay an annual subsidy to Healthpoint as originally agreed two years ago. At some point in the near future, the hope is that Healthpoint’s business will grow to the point that a subsidy will no longer be required. In the future, the Rockdale ISD will honor the existing lease agreement with Healthpoint.
This is simply great use of the former hospital complex!
We congratulate the Rockdale Hospital District for a job well done in that it has kept the facility in great shape and it has found the best possible use for the buildings and grounds. We congratulate Superintendent Denise Monzingo and the entire Rockdale ISD for accepting the offer and their desire to provide the best education for all of the students of the district.
Finally, a special thanks to all of our partners at Temple College for working so hard to help with higher education right here in Milam County. A win-win for us all!