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SMC making progress on hospital/nursing home connector

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Samaritan Medical Center officials and staff members are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Hospital spokeswoman Krista A. Kittle said progress on the two-level, 260-foot connector to Samaritan Keep Home is on track to be completed this fall.

“The ground floor is done, and there’s natural stone on the lower floor that shows above ground,” she said Wednesday. “Steel is currently being set for the top level, and they’ll be putting that steel skeleton up now.”

Ms. Kittle said the lower level of the connector will be used by laundry, dietary and other services to go back and forth between the two facilities and to transport patients to and from each place. The top level will be used for the public connection between the two buildings.

Construction of the connector is a part of the hospital’s $61 million expansion and renovation project, which began in July 2008. Included in the project is the renovation of 71,500 square feet of the older portion of the hospital and the construction of a 130,000-square-foot patient pavilion and a 350-space parking garage.

The project is funded by hospital reserves, borrowing, private donations, pledges and grants totaling more than $13.5 million through the Advancing Health Care Close to Home campaign. Samaritan also was awarded a $7.9 million Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law for New Yorkers grant.

Meanwhile, Ms. Kittle said, progress is being made on the healing gardens near the connector. Samaritan has received bids for that, and a contract will be awarded by week’s end.

“There’ll be seating for visitors and patients to enjoy outdoors and have beautiful views to take a breath, or a break from the stress,” she said. “A lot of windows and natural light will let people see it on bad-weather days.”

Although she knows plants in the healing gardens will be native to the area, Ms. Kittle said, she will know more about specific plants and flowers once the contract for work is awarded.

“Things will be planted in the fall, but it may take a year to look as the renderings portray it,” she said.

Ms. Kittle said there is a lot of renovation work occurring simultaneously, so Samaritan asks for people’s patience. For more information, call SMC’s marketing department at 785-4504.

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