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New hospital site would affect roads

July 26, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

About $20 million to $25 million in road improvements would probably be needed if Washington County Hospital is built at a site near Hagerstown Community College, Washington County Public Works Director Gary Rohrer said Thursday.

Rohrer said improvements may include building a connection road between Robinwood Drive and Md. 64 that would bypass the portion of Robinwood between the college and Md. 64, he said. He estimated the cost of a connection road at $4.2 million to $5.5 million.

Professional Court would need to be extended from Eastern Boulevard to Robinwood Drive, which would require a bridge over Antietam Creek, he said. He estimated the cost of the extension and bridge at $5.5 million, he said.

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The proposed hospital site, one of three being considered, is on 230 acres of agricultural land near the college and Robinwood Medical Center. The center is owned by the Washington County Health System, the hospital's parent company.

The road costs are "very definitely" a factor in the decision about where the hospital will be built, said James Hamill, president and chief executive officer of the health system.

Rohrer said about $4 million to $5 million in improvements to the intersection of Dual Highway and Edgewood Drive probably would also be required.

The hospital probably would have to pay for some of the costs of the improvements, Rohrer said.

"It would be reasonable to expect the hospital to participate in the costs, the extent of which would be determined by the Washington County Commissioners," Rohrer said.

Other businesses in the area would also benefit from possible improvements and may also have to pay some of the costs, Rohrer said.

When the Health System built the Robinwood Medical Center in 1995, it contributed about $1.3 million for road improvements that included Medical Campus Road, Rohrer said.

The county's Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance requires developers to provide information showing adequate road, water, sewage and schools capacity before a project can be approved. The developers must contribute toward any needed improvements.

The other two possible hospital sites being considered by a search committee have been identified as Allegheny Energy's 450-acre Friendship Technology Park, south of Hagerstown off Interstate 70, and a two-block area in downtown Hagerstown.

Friendship Technology Park does not have roads in it except for the entrance, Allegheny Energy spokesman Guy Fletcher said Thursday. He would not comment further about what costs or improvements would be needed if the hospital is built there.

Hagerstown Mayor William M. Breichner said the city has not developed an estimate on the cost of improvements that would have to be made for the hospital to be constructed between East Franklin and East Washington streets, between Mulberry Street and North Cannon Avenue.

To meet the needs of a new hospital, the city said a parking deck could be built on the block surrounded by Washington, Antietam and Mulberry streets and South Cannon Avenue, Breichner said

Under the city proposal, 59 properties would have to be acquired, Breichner said.

Hamill said he expects a preferred site will be selected this summer, but a decision on whether the system can afford a new hospital won't occur until next summer.

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