County legislators awarded contracts Monday to 13 area companies for the construction of the new 200-bed Glendale Nursing Home facility.
The bids were soundly approved by the Legislature, clearing the way for the long-awaited project to break ground sometime next month. District 4 Legislator Holly Vellano, C-Rotterdam, and District 3 Legislator James Buhrmaster, R-Glenville, cast the only votes against approving the bids.
Buhrmaster, the Legislature’s lone Republican and minority leader, characterized the home as a losing proposition for the county. He said the existing home has lost more than $70 million over the past decade, including $13.8 million in 2010 alone.
“The public needs to know that we’ve been losing money big time with the nursing home,” he said prior to the vote Monday.
Vellano offered similar reservations. She said the uncertainty about future state cuts to Medicaid payments was enough to sway her against the project.
“That liability will fall on the shoulders of the taxpayers,” she said.
But Glendale Subcommittee Chairman Brian Gordon, D-Niskayuna, framed the issue differently. He said the project is about providing a crucial service to county residents by allowing the elderly to live nearer to their homes rather than seeking a private nursing facility in another county or state.
“This is a very big commitment for a very important purpose,” he said.
Legislature Chairwoman Judy Dagostino, D-Rotterdam, also stressed the importance of maintaining a modern nursing facility within the county. She said the demand for beds in such a facility is high and shows no signs of abating.
“The need is there,” she said. “And that need is only going to increase.”
County officials also showed a design of the soon-to-be constructed home. Facilities engineer Don Scheuer said the facility will be comprised of five “neighborhoods,” each with “households” branching out from a central core.
“It is residential in style and feel,” he explained.
About five dozen bids came in from roughly four dozen companies for 16 construction contracts. The cost of construction is estimated to be $34 million, or $6 million less than county officials anticipated spending to build the new nursing home and demolish the outdated facility behind it.
The county Legislature authorized bonding of up to $50.5 million for the project, with roughly 85 percent of the cost of construction expected to be recouped through enhanced Medicaid reimbursement. County officials are expecting the home to open in April 2014.
The Schenectady-based DiGesare Mechanical Inc. was awarded contracts to complete the facility’s heating and plumbing systems, a total of $6.2 million. BCI Construction of Albany was awarded a $5.6 million contract to do general work on the project.
AM Contracting LLC won the contract to do drywall work. The Albany-based company will be paid $5.29 million for the work.
Other notable contracts include the $2.4 million bid secured by Schenectady Steel Co. for the building’s structural frame, $2.27 million to Bohl Contracting Co. for site work, and $1.79 million to Cristo Demolition Inc. to topple the old Glendale structures.