Saratoga County

Urgent care center OK’d at former Malta horse farm

A new urgent care center that would resemble a traditional hospital emergency room could be open wit

A new urgent care center that would resemble a traditional hospital emergency room could be open within a year at the Saratoga Medical Park at Malta at Northway Exit 12.

The town Planning Board on Tuesday granted final site plan approval for the 60,000-square-foot building, which will be the first constructed at what someday could be a full-service medical complex.

The complex, to be owned by Saratoga Hospital, would be built on the former Saratoga Standardbred horse farm property at the northwest corner of the exit.

In the past week or two, road and utility construction has started on the 140-acre site, the first construction work since Saratoga Hospital bought the property.

“We’re hoping to be in the ground by the end of the year. We hope to open in September or October 2012,” said Kevin P. Ronayne, vice president for operations and facilities at the hospital.

The new urgent care center will replace the current Saratoga Hospital urgent care center on Route 9. It will be three times the size of that facility and about 30 percent larger than the Wilton Medical Arts building at Exit 15, also owned by Saratoga Hospital.

“It will look and feel and be constructed like a hospital emergency room,” Ronayne said. “It will be a 24-hour operation. We will have emergency-trained physicians 24 hours a day.”

The state Health Department approved the plans in August. Ronayne said it’s called an urgent care center because New York state doesn’t recognize the concept of free-standing emergency rooms, which exist in other parts of the country. The center will have two floors, with the second occupied by private physicians’ offices.

If plans for a full hospital on the site eventually go forward — which could be as much as 20 years from now — it’s likely the center would become the hospital emergency room, Ronayne said. It will be operated by a partnership between Saratoga Hospital and Albany Medical Center, which will provide some of the emergency physicians.

The cost of the building is still being determined, Ronayne said. Columbia Development of Albany will build and own the structure, leasing it to the hospital partnership. The site will include a “heli-stop,” a place for emergency medical helicopters to land but without the refueling and flight support services found at a conventional helipad. There would be separate entrances for walk-in patients and ambulance arrivals.

Saratoga Hospital in 2007 paid $8.5 million for the property, which was in disuse but had been a horse farm for nearly three decades. Earlier that year hospital officials had announced plans to build a medical park there to meet the anticipated need as central Saratoga County continues to grow.

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