Fairmont General Hospital may be close to buying land near the Middletown Mall for its proposed new medical fitness center, hospital officials and board members said.

The hospital’s board of directors met early Friday morning to approve a “capital expenditure,” but officials are staying close-mouthed about the details.

“It’s not a closed, done deal yet,” said Mike Sengewalt, FGH’s chief financial officer.

The hospital and the seller of the land have agreed not to disclose the purchase terms until the transaction is complete, he said.

Starting in December, the hospital bought slightly more than six acres on the east side of Interstate 79 between the Downtown Fairmont exit (Exit 137) and the new Gateway Connector Highway exit (exit 136).

The hospital spent about $1.12 million from its cash reserves to buy the land.

The hospital was going to use it for its proposed $9 million “medical fitness” center, FGH President Albert Pilkington III said in late February. FGH is seeking a permit from the state Health Care Authority for the two-story building.

Earlier this month, Pilkington said a final decision on the site has yet to be made. He noted the hospital’s certificate-of-need application specifies only the I-79 corridor as the site of the new facility.

The land near the mall has always been the hospital’s first choice for the facility, hospital board members said Friday after their meeting.

“It’s the preferred location,” FGH Board Chairman Mike Martin said.

The site is close to the South Fairmont exit (Exit 132) which is where U.S. Route 250 crosses the interstate.

The property apparently only became available recently. Sengewalt said another party had an option on the land. The option only recently expired, he said.

Pilkington declined to comment on the matter, other than to confirm that the board had approved the capital expenditure.

E-mail Bill Byrd at bbyrd@timeswv.com.

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