Sierra Vista Herald

Christine Steele

Updated Jan 29, 2016


MARK.LEVY@SVHERALD.COM Copper Queen Community Hospital CEO Jim Dickson, right, chats with Bisbee Unified School District Superintendent Jim Phillips at Friday’s thank you luncheon in the Bisbee High School cafeteria. The high school and school district were showing their gratitude for the hospital’s financial assistance in repairs the school needed.


BISBEE — “To say that Bisbee High School is grateful to Copper Queen Hospital would be an understatement,” said principal Laura Miller at the opening of a thank you luncheon the high school and district hosted for the hospital on Friday.

When multiple health violations were found at the school during a Nov. 10 inspection, including crumbling faucets, leaking toilets, inoperable showers, dirty drinking fountains and no hot water for showers or hand washing, Miller reached out to the community for help, and the hospital stepped forward in a big way.

During a time when there is very little money coming from the state to spend on education, the hospital stepped forward and agreed to not only fund the bulk of the repairs needed to correct the violations, but also hired the contractors to do the work and followed the maintenance through to completion.

There were four major areas that required repairs to correct the violations. Those were two restrooms, including replacing four urinals, a sink and fixture, and hazardous materials testing, demolition and construction to put them back into service.

The hospital paid for all that and more, including replacing the hot water circulating pump and installing approximately 1,500 feet of rain gutters to prevent classroom flooding.

Over the past few months, the district’s maintenance crew has also been working overtime to address and correct all of the violations. While the exact cost of all of the repairs hasn’t been detailed yet, the price is estimated at more than $80,000.

Richard Hodges, Transportation and Maintenance Director for the district, will detail the amount spent and repairs made in a presentation to the Bisbee School Board at the next board meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 9.

At Friday’s thank you luncheon, Superintendent Jim Phillips took a moment to show his gratitude for the hospital’s help.

“There are three statements that you will make in your life that are more important than any other statement you will make,” he said. “Number one is ‘I love you,’ number two is ‘Can I help you?’ and number three is ‘Thank you.’ So with that I say I love you all, and we thank you for coming forth and saying ‘can we help?’ — and they did.”


MARK.LEVY@SVHERALD.COM Bisbee High School Principal Laura Miller speaks with Copper Queen Community Hospital Board President John Harris during Friday’s luncheon to thank the hospital. The school’s culinary class prepared food and served at the luncheon.

Copper Queen Community Hospital CEO Jim Dickson said the high school has a special place in his heart.

“My son Ethan Dickson graduated from here and he did very well,” he said. “He graduated number three in his class and is getting his master’s degree in business from UNM in Albuquerque. The school is very important to us.”

He went on to say that some people gave him flack and asked why is healthcare putting dollars into the high school.

“Because it is our community,” he said. “We want to have a healthy school.”

He talked about other initiatives the hospital has implemented for a healthier community, like eliminating the use of antibiotics because it has been proven they are unnecessary and destroy some necessary microbes, working to address opioid abuse, and even buying a part interest in the golf course, he said, “because exercise is the best leverage you can have for healthiness.”

The high school is also an important source of healthcare professionals for the hospital, he explained. Currently, 70 hospital employees are Bisbee High School grads.

“So it is in our interest to help the high school,” he said. “We want kids to get beyond the Border Patrol, police and fire as careers and think about healthcare. This is a medically underserved area by federal standards and the hospital is the only entity in Bisbee that is growing right now.

“We have gone from 70 employees when I first got here in 1998 to 250 employees and have grown from $10 million a year to $100 million. Instead of the old ‘you come to us,’ we are reaching out to the community,” he added.

He said the hospital also sponsors two chair positions at the high school, providing two $5,000 stipends to the school for one math and one science teacher to help the high school attract good math and science teachers by offering a more competitive salary. The hospital also sponsors the high school’s healthcare professionals club.

Lunch for the event was prepared by students from the high school’s culinary program.

Culinary students Harley Walnoah, 17, Nathaniel Larson, 15, and Michaela Snyder, 19, worked with their instructor, Colleen Meyers, on the menu, which included homemade meatballs with sauce, shrimp cocktail, Asian-inspired smokies, and finger sandwiches, along with potluck items contributed by district staff.

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