Schenectady County

Loan gives Woman’s Center a boost

The project to expand and modernize Ellis Hospital’s Bellevue Woman’s Center cleared a major hurdle

The project to expand and modernize Ellis Hospital’s Bellevue Woman’s Center cleared a major hurdle recently when it was granted a loan insured by the federal government.

The approval of the loan means work on the $15 million project can begin in earnest, hospital officials said.

“Everything was waiting for the loan approval,” Ellis Chief Operating Officer Paul Milton said last week. “Now that we have that approval, we’re really ready to go now.”

The project includes the razing of the four-story manor house at the center, replacing it with a new structure.

The plan is to provide the hospital with modern space for patient rooms and nurseries.

It includes replacing 28 semiprivate rooms in the 40-bed facility with private rooms, adding a three-bay triage room for incoming patients and enlarging the 15-bed neonatal unit, among other projects. The total number of rooms, however, will remain the same.

The project is being done with consultation from state historic preservation officials. Elements of the old manor house will be used in the new construction.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the commitment to insure the $15 million mortgage loan last week.

The commitment comes through the Federal Housing Administration’s Section 242 Supplemental Insurance Program.

The federal program provides HUD-insured mortgages made by private lending institutions to fund construction or renovation of hospitals, officials said. The program has run since 1968 and insured an estimated 400 such loans.

The move allowed the hospital to get lower-cost financing, saving an estimated $3.6 million in interest costs over the life of the loan, federal officials said.

Milton said he sees the approval as a vote of confidence from the feds on the project.

“We’re excited about that,” he said.

Construction on the project is not expected to be complete until 2013. The mansion is expected to be razed this winter.

With the loan in place, Milton said the first step is to get everything ready, including relocating offices from the mansion. All of the offices are expected to stay on-site.

Once the offices are out, work will begin on removing architectural elements from the house for use in the new building, including fireplaces, mantles and staircases.

What is now Ellis’ Bellevue Woman’s Center moved to its current location in 1942, taking up residence in the manor home.

The house was built in 1920 as a summer home for C.W. Stone, a noted electrical engineer who worked closely with Thomas Edison on a number of projects, according to a 1991 Daily Gazette column by historian Larry Hart. The hospital then expanded in 1972 with a new wing.

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