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Hospital plans start to move forward

Hospital plans start to move forward

Plans for a 120-bed hospital with a 24-hour emergency room on Route 146 in the town will be presente

Plans for a 120-bed hospital with a 24-hour emergency room on Route 146 in the town will be presented to residents at a public information session Monday.

Discussions with the Planning Board and Town Board have been under way for two years, predating the findings by the Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century, chaired by Stephen Berger, which became law on Jan. 1. Among its recommendations, the commission identified a need for new or expanding facilities in and around Saratoga County.

“This confirmed what we already knew,” Kevin Dailey, attorney for the developers, said. “It was fortuitous we started our hospital development plan even before the commission findings.”

Who would operate the hospital has yet to be revealed by the developers.

The public information meeting on the Halfmoon Hospital and Medical Campus will be held at 7 p.m. at the Halfmoon Town Plaza.

In its early review, Halfmoon board members questioned the land development company, Boni Enterprises, about what specific services will be included in what is being called the Halfmoon Hospital and Medical Campus. Board members did not, however, dispute the need for an emergency health facility in southern Saratoga County.

“The entire board stands behind the fact a hospital in this community would provide great benefits,” town Supervisor Mindy Wormuth said. “We’ll help facilitate this in any way possible, but the fact remains that any project of this magnitude requires a lot of review and planning.”

Early designs presented for the 80-acre campus included 250,000 square-foot and as many as 20 related health care services buildings. The nearest hospitals to Halfmoon are Ellis and St. Clare’s hospital in Schenectady, which are about 14 miles away, and Saratoga Hospital, which is 21 miles away.

“Regardless of where you are taken, an ambulance ride is going to be 45 minutes from Halfmoon in any direction,” Dailey said. “That’s a very long time in an emergency situation.”

Dailey said the project is designed to meet needs of the county today and into a future that may include a large technology campus in Malta.

“The population will be growing, and one of the first things people will ask when they contemplate taking jobs in this area will be: ‘What is the quality of health care?’ ” Dailey said. “We’ve hit a tipping point here. People will be well-employed and have good health insurance. They should have a good health care facility to rely on.”

Dailey said the medical campus will result in new jobs. He estimated several hundred high-paying jobs will be created as a result of the project, with new employees at the hospital earning an average of $60,000 a year.

Plans also call for developing two five-story, 80,000 square-foot buildings for biomedical research.

“With the Albany nano-tech center at the state university campus lying to the south and the Luther Forest Technology Park lying to the north, this location, halfway in between, offers a perfect location, situated to interact with these noteworthy and cutting-edge endeavors,” Dailey said.

Discussions have taken place with the Clifton Park and Halfmoon Emergency Corps and the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Fire District No. 1 on accessibility for emergency vehicles. Dailey said they considered that feedback and reworked the site plan, creating access roadways that run to the back of the major facilities, giving emergency service vehicles quick entry the two most significant building complexes.

The project requires a zoning change from the parcel’s currently allowed use as residential or agricultural space.

Town Planning Department Director Steven Watts said while no action will be taken Monday, he is eager to see the revised overview of the project.

“The developers have resolved some of the wetland issues, and our engineers have reviewed the plans, but there are many other details, including the height of the buildings, roads, and how traffic will be affected on Route 146,” Watts said.

Developers must also obtain a certificate of need from the state Health Department.

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