Photo by Paul Gilchrist
Wielding shovels during the Warrensburg Health Center ground-breaking ceremony held recently are (left to right): Warrensburg Town Supervisor Kevin Geraghty, state Assemblyman Dan Stec, Glens Falls Hospital President Dianne Shugrue and Hudson Headwaters Health Network CEO Dr. John Rugge.
Area officials offered their thoughts about the future of health care in the southern Adirondacks soon after they stuck shovels into the ground at Engle Park and turned over some dirt to formally celebrate the upcoming construction of the new Warrensburg Health Center.
Hudson Headwaters Health Network has begun work on a $9.5 million health center on Main Street at Richards Avenue in Warrensburg.
The new two-story building will replace the current facility, a 50-year-old cinder block structure that once was an A&P grocery store. After completion, the old health center will be demolished to accommodate parking, and the rear of the property will be developed into a park overlooking the Schroon River. There is no interruption of patient services anticipated in the transition between the old and new facilities.
At the ceremony held Aug. 14, Hudson Headwaters CEO Dr. John Rugge called the project a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to improve health care services in the region.
The floorspace of the new health center is to be 38,000 square feet, 162 percent larger than the present facility, which measures 14,500 square feet.
Rugge said that the new building would boost efficiency and enhance the patient experience by accommodating more exam rooms with more equipment, — and offering more specialty services.
Such services may include cardiology, orthopedics, infusion therapy, dialysis, high-technology imaging and cancer care, HHHN officials have said. More doctors and physicians’ assistants will be on the health center’s staff. The new facilities are also expected to provide space to expand Hudson Headwaters’ role in teaching medical students, resident physicians, nurses and physicians’ assistants., Rugge said.
Also, talk has also circulated about the center hosting a CAT scan device — the first in the southern Adirondacks.
Rugge predicted the facility will be completed and operating by the end of 2014.
The Warrensburg Health Center is the hub of Hudson Headwaters’ Adirondack operations. It is open seven days a week and six evenings, providing primary medical care for area residents as well as specialty services, urgent care and after-hours support to people living in 11 other Adirondack towns served by five Hudson Headwaters’ health centers in Hamilton, southern Essex and northern Warren counties. Last year, the Warrensburg Health Center logged 55,000 patient visits, with more than 70 percent of the patients hailing from outside Warrensburg.
At the ground-breaking, Rugge said that if it were not for the Warrensburg Health Center, many of these patients would go without care — rather than travel long distances to obtain the care they should have.
“We are committed to keeping our services available to everyone, regardless of income or insurance,” he said.
Rugge has predicted that the expanded facilities will prompt the creation of 15 to 20 new jobs, likely in stages, from its present roster of about 100. Hudson Headwaters has historically offered stable employment with competitive pay and benefits to area residents.
At the ceremony, Assemblyman Dan Stec praised Hudson Headwaters for historically following through on its commitments to area communities by providing quality health care for all.
Rugge and Glens Falls Hospital CEO Dianne Shugrue both talked about how the two organizations would go forward working together to provide the best, most efficient health care services for the region.
Warrensburg Supervisor Kevin Geraghty said that the building, with its architectural stylings, would be welcome on the community’s streetscape — as would be the addition of solid employment opportunities.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the investment here in our town,” he said, predicting that the new health center would draw ever more patients and visitors in the future. “This state-of-the-art health care facility will change the face of Main St. for many years to come.”
Funds to build the health center have been pledged from a variety of sources, including a $5 million federal grant, and $400,000 that the Warren County planning office secured from the state Office of Housing and Community Renewal.
To raise additional funds, Hudson Headwaters has kicked off a capital campaign with a goal of $1.9 million, Rugge said.
“We’ve already raised more than $1.3 million thanks to generous pledges from the board of the Hudson Headwaters Health Foundation, the Network Board and senior administrators, plus local benefactors,” he said, noting that the Charles R. Wood Foundation has made a $250,000 commitment to the project, the Dake Family Foundation and Stewart’s Shops have together committed $150,000, and the Wright Family Foundation has pledged $30,000.
Donations to the campaign can be made online at www.hhhn.org, or through the mail to the Hudson Headwaters Health Foundation, 9 Carey Road, Queensbury, NY 12804. For more information, contact Howard Nelson at 761-0300 or: firstname.lastname@example.org.