PLATTSBURGH The community will soon have an opportunity to see first-hand the progress of a major surgical renovation and expansion project at CVPH Medical Center. The hospital will host an open house next Friday, Sept. 12, officially giving the public a look at the $35 million project. According to Michael J. Hildebran, CVPH director of marketing and public relations, the progress of the project, which began in May 2007, is exceeding expectations. The project is coming along quite nicely, both ahead of schedule and under budget, said Hildebran. Were quite proud of it because its such a huge and complex project, but its gone extremely well. The project is so under budget, said Hildebran, the hospital was able to utilize $500,000 of construction funding to purchase a $1.6 million da Vinci Surgical System. The state-of-the art computer-assisted robotic surgery unit was purchased last month with intent to be used by physicians for gynecological, urological and general surgeries. The estimated cost of construction for the project is now at $25 million, with the remaining amount covering the cost of equipment. The Foundation of CVPH has raised $7 million towards its $8.1 million fundraising goal. The remainder of necessary funding will come through long-term, low-interest loans, said Hildebran. The open house next Friday will be held from 4-6:30 p.m., giving visitors access to both floors of new construction. Hildebran said he anticipates four near-complete new surgery suites will be open and equipped for the public to see, including one of two new open-heart surgery suites. One surgery suite will have the da Vinci robotic surgical unit on display, while another will display a laparoscopic surgery trainer. A fourth room will contain equipment used in orthopedic procedures. The open house will also be an exclusive opportunity for the public to tour its new sterile processing unit, which will be operational Sept. 29. The unit, said Hildebran, is where the cleaning and sterilization of all equipment and instruments used in surgery takes place. Three elevators will be used for the transportation of clean and dirty equipment between the first floor unit and second floor surgery suites. We wanted the public to see the sterilization process because its an extremely important process you cant see up close, said Hildebran. We had to schedule the open house when we did in order to be able to show it, otherwise its an area thats off-limits. Hildebran said the new surgery suites will open for use Monday, Oct. 20, vacating space they currently use. Renovations will be performed to the space that space, taking approximately 6-8 months, primarily creating post-anesthesia care and support space for operating rooms. Hildebran said he hopes the community takes the opportunity to tour the facility, particularly young people interested in pursuing a career in medicine or the surgical field. Those planning on attending the open house are encouraged to use the Beekman Street entrance to CVPH Medical Center. For more information, contact the hospital at 561-2000.