September 05 , 2008


Lack of state approval delays hospital expansion

$25 million project at Cortland Regional Medical Center waiting on state certificate of need


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer   
Traffic patterns flowing northwest on West Main Street have to negotiate a westward bend in the road at the Homer Avenue intersection.  Cortland Regional Medical Center wants this intersection realigned as part of a $25 million building expansion. 

Staff reporter

The Cortland Regional Medical Center will delay the anticipated March groundbreaking for its $25 million expansion while it continues to wait for approval from the state.
The hospital applied for a certificate of need in December, and the state has taken longer than the expected eight months to process the paperwork, said Tom Quinn, CRMC director of marketing.
“We haven’t gone forward with any plans for the project,” said Quinn, adding that the hospital tentatively wants to begin construction in the fall of 2009.
The hospital began planning a three-floor maternity and surgical wing in early 2007 to provide better equipment and services to its patients. The 45,000-square-foot addition would take about 30 months to build, Quinn said.
The hospital had hoped to begin construction next March, but the hospital hasn’t signed any contracts with architectural firms or contractors and doesn’t anticipate a cost increase, Quinn said.
The state Department of Health has not finished its review of the proposal and considers certificate of need applications on a case-by-case basis with no fixed timetable, said department spokesman Jeffrey Hammond.
Once the state signs the certificate of need, the hospital will need six to eight months to work with architects before it can begin construction, Quinn said. The expanded wing would be built on the northwest corner of Homer Avenue and West Main Street, which is currently a parking lot.
The proposal also includes a new medical office building on the lot at 112 Homer Ave. that was once occupied by the Kleen Korner dry cleaning and laundry. The hospital is still negotiating the lot’s purchase and has not finalized a purchase yet. The lot is owned by 4545 Properties, which is run out of Bud Ames’ home at 45 W. Court St.
The hospital finished the demolition of five vacant houses between 114 and 126 Homer Ave. that it purchased to convert into a parking lot to replace the one used to build the expansion.
The hospital has also delayed plans to realign the intersection of West Main Street and Homer Avenue. The hospital will work with the city to adjust the intersection to create a good traffic flow and easy access to the hospital, Quinn said.
Mayor Tom Gallagher said the city does not have any specific details about the intersection realignment because the hospital is in the beginning stages of planning and has not mapped out all the logistics, including moving poles and working around natural gas lines. The hospital would pick up the cost of the work, he said.
If the project involves altering a state highway, the hospital will need to submit a proposal to the state Department of Transportation. No proposal has been submitted, said department spokeswoman Sandra Johnson.


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