Guests don’t generally complain about the conditions at Masterson Place, according to Front Desk Supervisor Freda Phillips. Many are grateful they found a low-cost motel that caters exclusively to those who are traveling to Casper for medical care.
“They say ‘I don’t know what I would have done without you guys’…We hear that all the time,” she said.
But the head of the foundation that owns the facility said Thursday that the property is plagued with problems.
The sidewalks are cracked, boilers and air conditioners frequently break, the locks aren’t reliable and the plumbing system needs an upgrade, explained Caryn Dowell, the executive director of the Wyoming Medical Center Foundation.
“All these little things add up and to keep putting money into a building that is so old and isn’t in the greatest shape just doesn’t make sense,” she said.
Fundraising efforts to build a new motel started more than a year ago, and $2.9 million has been raised so far, said Dowell. The project was initially expected to cost $6.5 million, but the foundation recently scaled the project back and reduced the cost estimate to $4.8 million.
Dowell, who is hoping construction will start this summer, said she is working to obtain grants and also plans on organizing a golf fundraiser this spring.
“It’s very exciting to see it all come together—I can’t wait until we can put the shovel in the ground and really get started,” she remarked.
The executive director said the new motel will be located at the corner of East 3rd Street and South Washington Street, near the Wyoming Medical Center on land the hospital donated to the foundation. The two-story building, which will be slightly smaller than the current facility, will offer 16 guest rooms and a community room.
The new structure will also have an elevator and be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, a change Dowell expects many guests will appreciate.
Given that many Wyomingites live in rural areas with limited healthcare options, Dowell said she thinks it’s important to ensure they have a low-cost place to stay so they don’t hesitate to seek treatment.
“I really feel like we are helping the whole state of Wyoming be healthier,” she said.
At least one guest who stayed at the Masterson Place agrees.
Rawlins resident Velena Grayswan previously told the Star-Tribune that she stayed at the motel last summer while receiving treatment for colon cancer in Casper.
Explaining that she was too sick to work, Grayswan said paying for a full price hotel would have been out of the question.
“That would have been an impossible issue for me,” she said. “It takes every cent I have just to pay [my bills] here.”