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Event marks $50M capital program in Lewis County

Dina Olmstead, Special to the Sentinel Media Co.
Posted 4/26/22

LOWVILLE — Lewis County officials celebrated a $50 million capital program investment in Lewis County with a groundbreaking ceremony last week for one of the program’s major projects — a more …

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Event marks $50M capital program in Lewis County

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LOWVILLE — Lewis County officials celebrated a $50 million capital program investment in Lewis County with a groundbreaking ceremony last week for one of the program’s major projects — a more than $30 million investment in improvements at the Lewis County Health System.

The investment was made possible by the Lewis County Board of Legislators, the LCHS Board of Managers, the Lewis County Hospital Foundation Board of Directors, and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, according to officials.

County lawmakers approved $50 million in bonding to make the projects possible. County Manager Ryan Piche said that this will be the largest investment project in the history of Lewis County.

Approximately $30 million will go towards Lewis County Health System’s new surgical pavilion and transformation project. Jerry Cayer, the chief executive officer for the health care system, said a 26,000-square foot modern surgical pavilion will be constructed on the hospital grounds, and 17,000-square feet of renovations will be made to existing medical, surgical and intensive care units.

These renovations will turn double occupancy inpatient rooms into private ones, each with its own private bath, he said, and provide a state-of-the-art facility for patients.

The remaining $20 million of funding will go towards improvements at several public departments and related infrastructure.

The human services building, which includes the Office For the Aging, the Department of Social Services, and Child and Adult Protective Services, will receive $8 million for renovations.

The Highway Department will receive $7 million for a new garage while $3 million will go to the Recreation, Forestry and Parks Department. Some $2 million will go towards renovating the current Department of Motor Vehicles building and the construction of a new addition to house the operations of the county Board of Elections.

Rebecca Dunckel-King, chair of the Lewis County Hospital Foundation Board of Directors, announced a fundraising campaign for medical infrastructure, with $400,000 already collected, including a lead gift of $175,000 from the Northern New York Community Foundation.

Earlier this month, Stefanik announced a $1 million grant for Lewis County General Hospital from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

At Wednesday’s ground-breaking, about 100 people gathered at the foot of the hill recently cleared of trees to help pave the way for the new surgical pavilion on the grounds of Lewis County General Hospital’s main campus on North State Street. There, nearly a dozen local dignitaries turned ceremonial shovels of dirt, hailing the impact of the improvement on the quality of life of Lewis County residents.

The ceremony was carried out in two groups. The first consisted mainly of members of the health system’s board of managers and members of the foundation’s board of directors. The second group primarily included Lewis County legislators.

Representatives from the offices of Sen. Kristen E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Stefanik, and Assemblyman Kenneth D. Blankenbush, R-117, Black River, were also in attendance.

In closing, Cayer announced that there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony for the surgical pavilion in December 2023, when it is expected to be complete and ready for service.

The remaining construction projects are all expected to be completed by the fall of 2024.

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