CLIFTON PARK -- Municipal and hospital officials broke ground Monday morning on an urgent care medical complex operated by Albany Medical Center and Columbia Development Companies. The complex is expected to be completed by fall.
The 14,000-square-foot project is located on state Route 146, directly across from the main Shenendehowa Central School District campus. The complex will be divided into three separate buildings — each will measure 4,800 square feet.
The first building is slated to be up and running by October. The second building, according to officials, will open two weeks later, and the final building will be finished shortly after that.
Specifically, the complex will house an Albany Med EmUrgentCare along with a newly renovated and expanded satellite office for orthopedic specialists with The Bone and Joint Center, which also has locations in Schenectady and Albany.
The $4.5 million project was presented to Clifton Park by Columbia Development Companies, and went through a lengthy approval process requiring a number of variances from the Planning Board. Columbia Development Companies owns the land and will manage the property.
The original medical facility on the site was constructed in 1993 for several small practices, including Capital Care Physicians, and a smaller Bone and Joint satellite office.
The urgent care facility will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day, including holidays, for those seeking treatment from the flu, colds, sprains, fractures, infections and other non-emergency room illnesses. The Bone and Joint Center will provide treatment for orthopedic injuries out of its new office. There will be an MRI machine on site, and 14 full-time employees.
This is Albany Med's 12th urgent care facility.
Changes in technology, but also building codes, have led to the need for a total rebuild, said Richard Rosen, vice president of Columbia Development Companies at Monday morning's press conference at the construction site.
"We decided to bring these buildings up to date and build new buildings,” Rosen said. He noted that the project has received positive feedback from the community, including Shen.
Dennis McKenna, executive vice president at Albany Med, said on Monday that as people's desires in seeking out healthcare have changed, the hospital has been learning to become flexible and innovative, which included expanding beyond its home base in Albany. Rather than waiting in an emergency room, more and more people are seeking the quick treatment that urgent care facilities provide, he said.
“We’ve worked hard in the last few years to expand our services beyond downtown Albany, and to come to where the patients live, down here to Clifton Park," he said.
Urgent care facilities help the public avoid unnecessary emergency room visits, and most patients are seen in an average of 32 minutes, McKenna said. According to McKenna, only 2 percent of Albany Med's urgent care patients last year had to be moved to the emergency room.
Clifton Park Town Supervisor Phil Barrett said the creation of the medical complex brings the town close to $150 million in new healthcare projects that have appeared over the last few years.
“That was a premeditated part of our efforts to diversify our economy,” he said.
He lauded Albany Med's decision to move into Clifton Park.
“You will not be sorry. This is a low cost municipality where people can thrive in their daily lives, and when they conduct business," Barrett said.