BY THE NUMBERS
85,000 square foot addition
35,000 square feet of renovations
$41 million cost
100 parking spaces displaced during construction
200 people at ceremony
4/2019 month, year of completion
HONESDALE - Sponsors, hospital board members, local politicians, staff and community alike gathered in the Wayne Memorial Hospital (WMH) parking lot Friday evening, September 8 to celebrate the groundbreaking and kick off construction of the hospital's new expansion project.
Taking the better part of a year and a half, the expansion – expecting to cost around $41 million – looks to add a three-story patient tower containing 85,000 square feet and housing 50 new private patient rooms.
According to WMH CEO Dave Hoff, the undertaking marks the largest project in the hospital's history, dwarfing the implementation of the WMH Cardiac Cath Lab whose completion they celebrated roughly a year ago.
“We're excited to do this project for the community,” said Hoff. “The community really owns Wayne Memorial Hospital and we'd like to give back to the community.”
Extending off of floors three and four, the expansion's new rooms will contain new “smart” technology such as electronic white boards which house patient's medical staff information and other data necessary to the patient and their care providers, explained WMH Chief of Medical Staff William Dewar III, M.D.
He went on to say that the new rooms will also feature a variety of noise-reduction capabilities for patient comfort, and new lift mechanisms to aid caregivers in maneuvering their patients.
Dewar explained that, since the rooms are private, half the number of people will need to pass through them, effectively reducing the risk of spreading infection.
All in all, Dewar said the expansion will “... be a facility that will allow the employees and the medical staff to continue to provide a very high level of care.”
Renovations as well
In addition to the new expansion, the construction project will renovate 35,000 square feet in the existing hospital building.
This will include expansion of Same Day Surgery recovery area, a renovation of the Chemotherapy area, expanded New Beginnings/Maternity observation areas, dressing rooms for Radiology and a relocated Wound Care area.
There will also be a new main lobby, registration and gift shop area, an enclosed temperature-controlled pathway connecting the hospital to the new expansion and fully renovated hospital cafeteria.
According to WMH Facility Services Director John Conte, some of these facilities have not been updated in three decades.
Started with a survey
WMH Chairman of the Board Dirk Mumford explained the idea for the expansion began with former board chairperson Lee Oakes, who investigated community health needs with a survey in 2013.
They found 67 areas where they could improve access, availability and privacy, all which informed the nature of the expansion's design said Mumford.
He stated the renovations were also planned with feedback from hospital staff in mind.
Mumford gave special recognition to Mike Clifford (CFO), Frank Borelli (Treasurer), Jack Dennis (Grant writer) and Joe Harcum (Chairman) for leading the establishment of the project's financial parameters.
After generating a plan and organizing funding, Mumford said the last process for the project was to acquire the necessary permits from state, federal and local governmental organizations.
The cost in procuring these permits and facilitating all relevant data came to $2.2 million, he said.
Third more floorspace
According to Conte, the 85,000 square foot expansion represents an increase of roughly one third of the hospital's floorspace.
As the tower rises, he said he's sure it will “turn heads” in amazement.
“It's going to make a statement.”
The interior renovations will come in 21 phases, said Conte.
By this time next year, he hopes to see some of the hospital's new areas being occupied with full occupancy occurring in January 2019.
He expects all construction to be completed in April 2019, just in time to celebrate the hospital's centennial.
Parking in the meantime
While exterior construction is underway, roughly 100 parking spaces will be unusable.
Parking for patients and visitors will be relocated to the new lot on the other side of Park Street and hospital employee will park in the hospital's adjacent lot in the spaces far enough removed from the construction area.
Conte stated this arrangement will provide the least amount of traffic disruption and keep visitors and patients as far away from the construction as possible.
Initial phases of the construction will include creation of a temporary exit for traffic onto Route 6, sectioning off of the hospital parking lot, and preliminary digging for foundation installation.
Some vegetation will be removed from the hillside behind the hospital and sheet piling will be installed to hold the dirt back while footers are placed underground.
Conte said they plan to have the footers in place by the end of the year and steel installation commencing in January.
Residents are advised that there will be increased truck traffic on Route 6 while construction is underway as materials need to be delivered and removed from the site.
According to Hoff, Burkavage Design Associates were integral in the structure's planning. The facility will be erected by Sordoni Construction Services.
Numerous thanks from WMH were given out to local and state officials for their support and assistance throughout the planning process.
Present at the groundbreaking were all three Wayne County commissioners, Brian Smith, Wendell Kay and Joe Adams, as well as Honesdale Borough Councilman Troy Johnson, Frank Mazza from U.S. Senator Toomy's office, Andrew Seder from State Senator Lisa Baker's office, State Representative Jonathan Fritz, Pike County Commissioner Steve Guccini, Fred Jackson from the Community Health Center and numerous members of the WMH board of directors.
Mumford and Hoff specifically thanked Commissioners Smith, Kay and Adams for guaranteeing the hospital's bonds for the project. This allows project funding to be borrowed at a more preferable rate.
When asked about the hospital's expansion, Commissioner Smith stated its central location for a large region of the country makes upgrades like this a necessity for providing quality healthcare to the individuals in that area.
“They have to continue to upgrade to stay with the times,” he said. “The additional things that they offer here will help bring more doctors into the area.”
Commissioner Kay added “The County is very, very happy to be a small part of the success of this institution which has grown by leaps and bounds, which has outgrown its current floor plan, and is taking that next leap into not just technology and patient service, but a true economic driver for Wayne County.”
“... We're so fortunate that they're here and that they are forward-thinking enough to be able to be in the position that they occupy which allows them to do the next step which is this expansion.”
Close to 200 people attended the ceremony, according to Wayne Memorial officials.