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AMC awaits approval for revised Tupper Lake project

November 4, 2008
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

SARANAC LAKE - Adirondack Medical Center is awaiting approval from the state Department of Health regarding its plans to move forward with a significant investment in its healthcare facilities in Tupper Lake.

The medical center had initially planned a renovation and construction project at its existing location of the Tupper Lake Health Center on Church Street, and within adjoining AMC-Mercy, the nursing home and rehabilitation facility, located on Wawbeek Avenue.

Those earlier plans called for renovation of resident rooms at AMC-Mercy, adding three renal dialysis stations, creating a separate 10-bed rehabilitation unit in the long-term care facility as part of the 60 existing resident beds, totally renovating the Tupper Lake Health Center and relocating the outpatient AMC physical therapy and rehabilitation department, currently located in the old Rite-Aid building, on the corner of Park Street and Wawbeek Avenue in Tupper Lake, onto the AMC-Mercy campus.

Article Photos

Located on the corner of Wawbeek Avenue and Stetson Road, across from AMC-Mercy, the Tupper Lake Physicians and Surgeons building would be torn down after a 10,000-square-foot, two-story medical office is built, if AMC’s revised plans are approved by the state Department of Health.
(Enterprise photo — Brittany Bombard)

While the majority of these project elements remain the same, the most significant amendment to the plan is the construction of a new, roughly 10,000-square-foot, two-story medical office building across the street from AMC-Mercy in the parking lot where a current physician's office building is located. The new building will house the Tupper Lake Health Center, as well as ancillary services like medical imaging and laboratory.

The current private physician practices will be located in the new medical office building as well. The building where the physician's offices are currently located will be dismantled after construction of the new medical office building.

Renovating the resident rooms at AMC-Mercy, adding renal dialysis stations, creating a 10-bed rehabilitation unit and relocating the outpatient physical therapy and rehabilitation department at the AMC-Mercy location remain in the new plans.

The amendments to the renovation and construction project have allowed for an overall savings in expense. The revised estimated project cost is about $8 million. The new medical office building portion of the project will cost an estimated $3.4 million. While these are the current estimated project costs, the dollar amount is at the mercy of the current ongoing economic uncertainty. Nevertheless, AMC remains steadfast in completing this project in a cost-effective manner without compromising the quality care that the residents of the Tri-Lakes expect and deserve.

"While the initial cost estimates of this project required us to re-examine the most effective way to achieve our goal, it has not affected our steadfast commitment to make a significant investment in the quality of care for the community of Tupper Lake," stated Chandler Ralph, president and CEO of AMC. "Not only does this new approach allow for us to maintain the original goals of the project, it will be a vital tool in retaining needed physicians in a designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA)."

Delays to the project are primarily due to initial project costs surpassing the original expectations when expansion and renovation plans were first drafted. The increase in project costs is largely attributed to the economic climate driving up the price of construction materials and other building supplies. As a result, the project was refined to reflect the economic reality, and AMC submitted a revised "Certificate of Need" with the state Department of Health.

AMC officials say they expect to hear back from the state Department of Health regarding the amended "Certificate of Need," outlining the Tupper Lake project, within the next several weeks. Following approval from the state, AMC will initiate the bidding process with project contractors with the goal of breaking ground in the spring of 2009.

Adirondack Medical Center operates hospitals in Lake Placid and Saranac Lake, primary care clinics in Keene, Lake Placid and Tupper Lake, and nursing home and rehabilitation facilities in Lake Placid and Tupper Lake.



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