Monroe County is moving ahead with a $10 million plan to improve their local hospital.

Back in March, county voters approved a property tax increase aimed at keeping the hospital in business. The hospital has just been approved for $10 million in bonds.

Nicole Butler spoke with a hospital official about what they're doing to help the hospital be successful in the future.

Ann Bowcock owns High Cotton Uptown Boutique right off the square in Forsyth.

Loving anything pleasing to the eye, she was shocked when I showed her the blue prints for the renovations at the Monroe County Hospital.

"Whoa! Big change," Bowcock exclaims.

The hospital has just been approved for $10 million in bonds.

$3.9 million of that will be used for renovations to the hospital to help it be financially stable in the future. The other $6.2 million is in taxable bonds to pay off the existing line of credit and hospital debt.

Hospital officials say they plan to shrink the hospital to lower overhead, planning on going from 25 patient beds to eight.

"It sounds and it appears to be a very efficient plan and consolidating into a smaller space could create more efficiency," Bowcock says.

They will also condense the hospital to the first floor and lease out their top floor.

Moving the future entrance toward the back of the hospital near the emergency room entrance, but Bowcock says this might make things confusing for patients.

"It's not going to be visible from the road," she says.

The hospital's Director of Operations, Lorraine Smith, says they plan to put up plenty of signs to make sure the transition goes smoothly.

"Plus, that more up to date facility is just going to be a better look and a better feel not only for the patients but also for the staff," she says.

Smith says the emergency room will get an up-to-date design, there will be a central nursing station, and they plan to bring in physicians to improve patient flow and the quality of care.

She says these changes wouldn't be possible without the community's support to save the hospital.

"I think they are going to see they've made the right choice supporting the hospital going forward," Smith says.

Smith says they are submitting these plans to the state for approval, which should take 40 to 60 days.