Adirondack Health Lake Placid construction is on schedule

The exterior of the new Adirondack Health in Lake Placid, pictured Wednesday, features, wood side paneling and a gable roof, giving it that classic Adirondack look. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

LAKE PLACID — A new Adirondack Health building located in Lake Placid has just about reached the one-year mark in terms of construction, and CEO Sylvia Getman said it’s on schedule.

“It’s actually been pretty close,” she said. “You know, we’ve always estimated for this piece of construction because it is new construction on a clean property around 12 to 18 months, and we’re really pretty close. We’re excited to get it done and get it up and functional for the people of the community.”

The new hospital is located in same lot as Elderwood of Uihlein on Old Military Road and across the street from the Olympic Training Complex, and while it features many of the same departments as the current location on Church Street, the major addition is a large fitness center with a lap pool, a therapy pool, a yoga and cycling room and space for weightlifting. Getman said she’s expected to hire between six and eight fitness center employees. The fitness center will not only be available to patients, but also to the public through a membership program. It will be geared to health rather than anything superficial.

“It’s to get people healthy enough so that they don’t become patients,” Getman said with a chuckle.

The actual construction of the hospital is expected to finish in October. It could open as early as November, but that’s just a hope at this point, according to Getman.

Adirondack Health CEO Sylvia Getman walks through the new location for Adirondack Health in Lake Placid Wednesday. It’s still under construction and expected to be finished by October (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

“We do have to go through, obviously, some inspections before we can get our certificate of occupancy,” she said, “so that’s not a process I necessarily control, but we’ll be ready for them whether they’ll be ready for us or not.”

Getman said the total cost of the new hospital is around $19 million.

“The cost escalated over the time of the project, and it’s really driven by a number of different things,” she said. “All the different approval processes that we had to go through with the Department of Health delayed the project by a number of years.

“We did have an increase in costs, making sure that we meet the right aesthetic criteria for the town of North Elba.”

The North Elba-Lake Placid Joint Review Board tends to request commercial buildings to exhibit an “Adirondack” exterior. The hospital’s wood side paneling and gable roof provide a North Country look.

The new Adirondack Health in Lake Placid will also feature a fitness center, containing a therapy pool. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

Getman continued, “I think when you look at [the hospital] visually, it’s a good investment because I do think it will be a great showpiece not just for us but for the community as people come in here. The one we weren’t expecting as much that had a fairly significant increase was our mechanical, electrical and plumbing costs overall. A lot of that was driven just by the complexity of designing emergency department heating and cooling systems as well as a pool.”

During a tour through the hospital, Getman pointed to metal stud construction and intricate circulation vents in the emergency department and noted that the medical industry is now the most regulated industry in terms of building construction even ahead of nuclear power.

In terms of interior design, Getman said, the current Adirondack Health facility in Lake Placid is rather dated. Most of the hallways are dead ends, meaning patients go out the way they came. The new hospital utilizes a horseshoe shape for its halls, which Getman described as a more efficient design because then people don’t have to double back.

Everything in the new hospital is strategically located to cut time, especially in the emergency department. The isolation room is right by the door, so contagious patients don’t spread illnesses. The X-ray lab is adjacent to the orthopedic section. The bariatric room is also located close to the entrance and will contain plus-sized beds and wheelchairs for larger patients.

“It’s really a facility that’s designed for 2018,” Getman said.