CHARLTON -- Work is underway to convert the former Stewart's Shop at state routes 67 and 147 in West Charlton into an urgent care center.
St. Mary's Health Care of Amsterdam plans to open its fourth urgent care center in the building by mid-summer, said spokeswoman Jerri Cortese. It will also be the first facility in Saratoga County for St. Mary's, which operates St. Mary's Hospital in Amsterdam and has satellite operations around Montgomery and Fulton counties.
It will also be the first urgent care center in western Saratoga County, which is much more rural than the county's Northway corridor towns.
"We're constantly looking over the horizon for where there might be a gap in services," Cortese said. "This is a highly trafficked area."
More than 5,600 vehicles per day pass the site on Route 67, and an estimated 6,300 people live within a five-mile radius, according to St. Mary's. The nearest emergency room or other urgent care is 20 to 30 minutes away, hospital officials said.
The urgent care center, which will be open seven days a week with evening hours, will be located entirely within the interior of the former convenience store, though it will be extensively renovated, both inside and outside.
The Stewart's Shop was built in 1996, but has been vacant since 2017, when a new Stewart's opened on the opposite side of the intersection. The Dake family, which owns a controlling interest in the Malta-based convenience store chain, donated the property to St. Mary's after it expressed interest in locating an urgent care there.
Cortese said the staffing of the center will be with nurse practitioners and physician assistants, with some lab services and x-rays also available on-site.
Urgent care centers are generally intended for minor injuries, accidents and illnesses that require prompt medical attention but not the full services available in a hospital emergency room, and are therefore less expensive to patients.
"These are very big with families," Cortese said. "They are very busy on weekends, but regular providers may not be open."
The town of Charlton issued an exceptional use permit for the project last November.
"A lot of the urgent cares now are catching some of the cases that used to go to the emergency room and really didn't need to be there." said Town Supervisor Alan R. Grattidge. "The town views this as a new service that would be available for the residents. We saw this as a big plus, to use a building that is already there."
Other St. Mary's urgent care centers are located on Route 30 north of Amsterdam, in Gloversville, and in St. Johnsville.