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Pa. hospital buys 94-acre farm tract

December 02, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Chambersburg Hospital on Monday purchased a 94-acre farm adjacent to its Summit Health Center campus, but a Summit Health official said there are no immediate plans to develop the land.

The Diller farm on Grand Point Road in Greene Township was purchased Monday from John W. and Margaret H. Diller and James E. and Mabel R. Diller for $3.85 million, according to the deed recorded Tuesday in the Franklin County Register and Recorder's Office.

The land is adjacent to the 25-acre Summit Health Center campus on Norland Avenue Extended, according to Summit Health Vice President John McElwee.

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"The actual motivation for purchasing the land is it's a great piece of property adjacent to the existing campus," McElwee said Wednesday. He said the new acreage will support additional health-care services and physicians' practices in the future, he said.

McElwee said the hospital bought 5 acres of the farm in 1998 for the Summit Health campus and this completes acquisition of the property.

James Diller said his great-grandfather, John Frey, homesteaded the land in 1869 and put up a small dwelling the following year. A barn was built in 1871 and the main farmhouse in 1872.

The farm was passed down to Frey's son-in-law, Jacob Diller, and then to Silas and Emma Diller in 1931. James and his brother, John, farmed the land from 1970 to 2001, when they retired, James said.

The family has rented the ground to another farmer since then and Diller said the land probably will continue to be used for agriculture until it is developed.

"We made the decision and we're happy the hospital is the recipient," Diller said. He said the sale of the land is a way to give back to the community and help future generations "to have a healthy life."

While the hospital has no plans at this time to build on the property, McElwee said Summit Health, which owns Chambersburg Hospital as well as Waynesboro (Pa.) Hospital, does have plans for another building on the Summit Health campus.

Construction on the first phase of the Keystone Pavilion will begin in the spring, McElwee said. The 54,000-square-foot, $8.5 million building is scheduled for completion in January 2006, he said.

Keystone Pavilion will house the health system's medical oncology center, Keystone Women's Care, administrative offices for Keystone Health and have space for other tenants.

The second phase of the pavilion project would add another 56,000 square feet to the building, McElwee said.

The 25-acre campus eventually could accommodate up to 350,000 square feet of building space, he said. Summit Health Center is approximately 120,000 square feet, he said.

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