"We are using more hardened products on the exterior skin of the building. The types of materials we are using will add more stability, but it does drive up costs, too. We're trying to secure all the infrastructure—the heating, cooling, electrical systems—to protect them the best we can," Bader adds.
Despite investing millions in additional safety features, Bader knows there is no guarantee that the new building will be able to withstand the next tornado.
"The whole situation in Joplin was an eye opener for everyone. … Mother Nature has the upper hand. We can only do what we think is right. But … you might have three minutes to prepare for 300 mile-an-hour winds. How do you prepare for that?"
It's a question that clearly haunts Bader, who—like hospital administrators around the country—knows he is walking a tight rope between spending enough money to keep patients and staff safe during a weather event and not overspending on materials that won't provide any extra safety in the most extreme situations.
"When we are making decisions on what we are doing in our facility moving forward, there is only so much you can do," he says. "It's trying to find that sweet spot where you are not spending inappropriately, and that is difficult when you are looking at tornado impact."
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