TUPPER LAKE - Adirondack Medical Center's building projects in this village show its commitment to the community, AMC officials said at a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday.
"The community has been extremely welcoming and supportive," AMC President and CEO Chandler Ralph said.
The new and renovated AMC facilities will attract new health-care providers to the area and keep them here longer, Ralph said.
Adirondack Medical Center officials and guests don hard hats and pick up shovels Tuesday to celebrate two new buildings, one of which is shown in the background, on Wawbeek Avenue in Tupper?Lake.
(Enterprise photo — Jessica Collier)
State Sen. Betty Little noted that when families look into moving to an area, the second thing they check on, after schools, is often the availability of health care in the area, and that many second-home residents and visitors also make health care a priority.
While it was officially a groundbreaking ceremony, construction of the new Medical Office Building began several months ago. Spokesman Joe Riccio said AMC has been trying to hold a groundbreaking event since before the ground was actually broken but had trouble setting up a time when all the important parties could make it.
"It was purely a scheduling thing," Riccio said.
Indeed, a number of local politicians were able to make it to the event, including Little, state Assemblywoman Janet Duprey, Franklin County Legislator Paul Maroun, village Mayor Mickey Desmarais, village police Chief Tom Fee, who is running for town supervisor, and Doug Hoffman, vice chairman of the AMC Foundation board and Conservative candidate for the 23rd Congressional District. Many AMC employees and several board members also attended, as well as the regional president for Excellus Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Eve Van De Wal.
The new Medical Office Building already has its exterior walls and roof erected. It will house the health center, which is currently across the street at AMC-Mercy nursing home, and private physician practices that currently reside in the building next door, which will be demolished once the new building is ready.
Project engineer Mark Yamrick said workers are trying to get the building winterized and plan to install windows within the next month. Then interior work will be stepped up. AMC expects the building to be ready to use in January 2010.
"It's been going very well so far," Yamrick said. "We're still on schedule, and hopefully it's going to continue that way."
AMC-Mercy is also seeing work done. Parts of the former hospital are being renovated to make room for a 10-bed rehabilitation unit, renal dialysis stations and the outpatient Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Department that is now in the old Rite Aid building on Park Street. Yamrick estimated the AMC-Mercy renovations would be completed by June 2010.
"A lot of good things are happening inside of Mercy that you don't see right now," said Donald Lewis, AMC's assistant vice president for long-term care.
Also at the ceremony, AMC representatives and dentists held a ribbon-cutting, with ribbon made to look like giant dental floss, for the Mobile Dental Clinic, which visits Tupper Lake and other municipalities around the region regularly to provide dental care for people who have trouble accessing it.
Contact Jessica Collier at 891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.