Health campus planned to include four new structures.

A last minute pitch by the Ford County Commission secured Compass Behavioral Health's support and dollars with a new county health campus but left one difficult question: "Now what?"

Compass, faced with a deadline to use or lose a $400,000 grant to build a new facility to replace the one on the Dodge City Community College campus, now has some more concrete plans for how the public, profit and non-profit joint venture will operate.

The campus, anchored by the old county jail being renovated as a county health department, is expected to have four other structures with consistent designs and shared landscaping, a "hospital feel," as County Chairman Chris Boys calls it, rather than the sometimes dreary popular view of public health facilities.

"That's what we want to push here, that this is a campus," said Brian Marshall of Building Solutions, the site developer. The health department building will also need to receive a facade to match the new construction.

Marshall sees a price cap of $3 million for the ground work, including parking, landscaping and infrastructure hookups. Though, "I think this thing's going to come down a lot" when bids are received, he added.

The campus could also benefit by filing as a "pre-planned development," allowing it to waive certain city site requirements and treating the area as a single, planned entity.

The three buildings aside from the health department and Compass would likely be built by private investors, though the possibility for the county to build and lease the structures has not been ruled out.

Boys said the campus has received interest from firms outside the county and a major partner could be announced shortly.