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Fund raising by the Garfield Memorial Hospital Foundation is picking up momentum toward the goal of raising $100,000 toward a $1 million long-term care facility at the hospital in Panguitch.

The latest venture, a dinner and auction, netted more than $7,000, according to Dennis Moser, assistant hospital administrator, who has been instrumental in the project.Ground was broken in late April for the center that is being built as a wing of the hospital. Valley Builders of Gunnison is proceeding with construction under a contract awarded for $885,435 to the low bidder.

The most recent money-raising event was held at the county fair building after volunteers worked to remove items that had been stored there, cleaned the building and set up chairs and tables for booths, the auction and the luncheon.

The auction featured such prizes and donated items as antique guns and saddles, hand-tied quilts, jewelry, paintings and a computer.

Adding to fund-raising festivities were indoor yard sales, a bake sale and a silent auction for hand-crafted items and hand-tied quilts. A quilt made by Ina Hanks sold for more than $1,000.

Members of the Hospital Foundation pledged to raise $100,000 and Panguitch City donated $50,000 toward construction costs for the care center. Additional financing came from loans, a $200,000 grant from the state's Community Impact Board and a $150,000 grant from the federal Health Care Financing Administration.

The Health Care Administration grant will be forthcoming over three years with annual payments of $50,000.

Plans began for construction of the long-term care facility after a survey found about 30 Garfield County residents who are being housed in other counties would be potential patients.

Moser was instrumental in conducting the survey and planning for the care center.

Hospital administrator Wayne Ross cited Moser as the driving force in the project, and county Commissioner Tom Hatch praised him as a motivator.

But the venture has also received exceptional cooperation from Panguitch City and Garfield County officials, as well as members of the hospital board. Board members who worked on planning and developing a financial package were Maloy Dodds, Wayne Ross, Gail Whittaker, Jim Hatch, Clem Griffin, Ken Platt, Al Barlow, Sherrell Ott, Teresa Westwood, Ellen Lamb and Bob Benfield.

The Five County Association of Governments has been involved in analysis and clearances for historical, archaeological and wildlife interests in connection with federal funding, Moser noted.

The 9,000-square-foot care center is viewed by officials as an economic benefit to the county as well as providing needed care for the aged and those afflicted with physical disabilities.

The unit is expected to be completed by early next year. Its operation will be directed by Intermountain Health Care Inc.