A local hospital says they are now debt free after paying off bonds used to expand their facilities.

The Lubbock County Hospital District paid the bonds issued for the University Medical Center East Tower in three years, a measure which they say saved more than $12 million in interest.

The final payment on $26.3 million in bonds was made in March, which helped to finance the cost of the $46 million East Tower in 2010.

According to a press release from UMC, this is the second time UMC has paid off bonds early to save money on interest payments.

“The UMC Board of Managers made the decision to borrow part of the cost of the East Tower project because of uncertainty in both the economy and federal healthcare reform,” said Terrell Thrasher, UMC vice president of finance. “Since then, UMC has recorded profitable years because of sound financial planning and the efforts of staff to reduce expenses. The board felt the wise decision at this point was to pay off the bonds early from cash reserves."

The UMC East Tower doubled the square footage of the hospital when it opened in 2012. The first and second floors of the tower house the UMC Family Birth Center, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Family Care Center.

The third and fourth floors of the tower are shell space for future expansion.