Construction of a new replacement facility will be the top priority when a former administrator returns next month to once again take over as chief executive officer of Neshoba County General Hospital and Nursing Home.

Lonnie Graeber, who held the position from 1993 to 2007 as part of the Quorum Health Resources managment team, will assume the duties of CEO on Nov. 15, supervisors were told on Monday.

"We wanted y'all to be the first ones to know," Thomas Bland, interim CEO, told supervisors. "Lonnie Graeber will assume the reins."

Trustees had been talking with the Graeber for a while, he said.

"He'd expressed an interest in coming back and the board worked the details out," Bland said.

Hospital trustees in June dismissed Quorum and said they would search for an administrator.

Board of Trustees Chairman Marvin Page said rumors had been floating around in recent weeks about Graeber's return.

"It is official now," he said. "I know he will do a good job for us."

Graeber said Tuesday morning he was looking forward to returning to Philadelphia.

The first priority will be the hospital building project.

"We want to get that under way as soon as we can," he said. "I've been gone for almost four years, so I've got to get up to speed as quickly as possible and get that project moving."

Graeber said his wife, Patsy, was excited as well.

"She's a nursing home consultant and works in this area a lot. We're looking forward to it," he said.

Board of Supervisors President Obbie Riley said he was looking forward to Graeber's leadership.

While he wasn't a supervisor during Graeber's reign, Riley said other members speak highly of him.

"I look forward to establishing a good and positive work relationship with him," he said.

Graeber currently resides in Brandon, but will be making plans to reside in Philadelphia upon assuming his duties at the hospital and nursing home, trustees said in a press release.

Graeber has been involved in the administration of hospital facilities since 1972 and was administrator here from 1993 to 2007. The hospital experienced substantial growth and prosperity during the time Mr. Graeber served as CEO, Trustees said in a press release.

"The Board of Trustees is extremely pleased and excited that Mr. Graeber has accepted this position and we look forward to his returning to our hospital in November."

Graeber left Neshoba General after accepting a position with the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, which Quorum manages.

At the time, Page called Graeber's resignation a real blow to the hospital.

He said that when Graeber arrived in 1993, there were only two doctors and two patients at Neshoba General.

"You might say we were broke," Page said, at the time.

The hospital at the time faced a $700,000 deficit.

He credited Graeber for recruiting good doctors who, in turn, filled the hospital with patients.

Since February 2004 there have been several studies and proposals for a new hospital.

The state has granted permission to build a $53 million, 44-bed facility that has been held up because of the lack of funding.

Studies have shown that about 70 percent of the population here seeks healthcare services outside Neshoba County.

Plans call to replace the present 82-bed hospital with a new facility on the back side of the existing campus off south Holland Avenue.

The proposal hinges on securing a $35.5 million HUD-backed loan. The remaining $18.1 million would come from cash reserves produced by a 2008 Medicaid windfall, officials had said.

Members of the hospital's Board of Trustees are: Page, Kizzie Donald Moore, Jo Helen Daly, Roger Owen and Oliver Jolly.