Old Lake Placid hospital to become sports facility

The sign for Adirondack Medical Center, Lake Placid is seen Thursday night. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

LAKE PLACID — With a new Adirondack Health hospital to open soon, the current Adirondack Medical Center facility on Church Street will revert back to the town of North Elba. The town, the state Olympic Regional Development Authority and the United States Olympic Committee are in talks to build a new training-housing-administration facility there.

During an unrelated budget hearing Wednesday night at the North Elba Town Hall, town Supervisor Roby Politi said the current hospital will be demolished to make way for a new facility that would be kind of like an extension of the Olympic Training Center on Old Military Road.

A “Center for Sports Excellence” is what he called it.

With Lake Placid’s roster of events throughout all seasons, Politi said the new facility would partly act as a place to house athletes. It’s too early to say when it would be completed, but the hope is to have it ready for the Winter World University Games in 2023, which is expected to attract 2,500 college athletes from 52 countries.

“We’d also like to see an indoor field for spring events,” Politi said, “so you can practice things like lacrosse in the winter.”

Politi said ORDA is working to have a master plan for the new facility by January.

Cost and how the facility will be paid for are unknown right now. Politi deferred to ORDA, and ORDA Director of Communication Jon Lundin couldn’t elaborate further on the finances at this time. He wrote in an email, “The Town of North Elba has offered the eight acre parcel to ORDA, we are in the preliminary stages of reviewing that plan.”

Adirondack Health has an agreement with North Elba that whenever it stops providing 24-hour emergency room service, the property would revert back to the town. ER service was scaled back to less than round-the-clock in 2014, but North Elba allowed the hospital to continue to operate because there was no immediate need for the property, Politi said. Since then, the ER has been open 24 hours occasionally for big events such as the Ironman triathlon and the Lake Placid Summit Classic lacrosse tournament.

The facility originally opened as Placid Memorial Hospital and in 1989 merged with the General Hospital of Saranac Lake to form Adirondack Medical Center. The group later changed its name to Adirondack Health but kept the AMC name for the two hospitals.

The new Adirondack Health center in Lake Placid will feature many of the same departments and services as the current one — sports medicine, X-ray lab, sleep studies lab — with the addition of a large fitness center with a lap pool, a therapy pool, a yoga and cycling room and space for weightlifting. The fitness center will not only be available to patients but also to the public through a membership program. It was supposed to have a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday, but that was canceled and the actual opening date isn’t clear at this time.