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Houses to go so hospital can grow

September 30, 2006|by DON AINES

WAYNESBORO, PA. - Demolition of five houses will begin in November to make way for an expansion of Waynesboro Hospital, although the hospital's vice president said no date has been set for construction.

Two houses on Enterprise Avenue, two on Main Street, another on Prospect Avenue and a garage will be torn down, hospital Vice President Ken Shur told the Greater Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce at a Friday breakfast meeting.

The project includes a 9,300-square-foot addition to the hospital's diagnostic imaging center and 14,500 square feet of space for outpatient services, Shur said. An additional 105 parking spaces would be added as well, he said.

Renovations to the hospital's third floor medical-surgical area also are being considered, Shur said. That floor would get new lighting and flooring, showers would be added to rooms that do not have them and others that now accommodate three patients would be converted to semiprivate rooms, he said.

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Shur told Chamber members the hospital's 10-member board of directors has yet to approve the expansion, which he estimated will cost between $13.5 million and $15.5 million. Funding for the project is not yet in place, he said.

The properties being demolished belong to the hospital, which has been purchasing homes in a four-block area to the east of the building. Shur said the hospital owns all but five properties in an area encompassed by West Main Street and Sunnyside, Roadside and Enterprise avenues.

Shur said the hospital will ask the borough to rezone all or part of that area for hospital use. Waynesboro Hospital also will ask that all or part of Enterprise Avenue, which forms its eastern boundary, be closed.

When built, the addition will extend across Enterprise Avenue, according to the graphic Shur showed Chamber members. In the future, additional floors could be added to the new section, he said.

Shur said the hospital has to grow with the community, citing an increase in the number of outpatient visits from 30,000 in 1982 to 109,000 in 2005-06. Emergency room visits last year topped 20,000 for the first time, while 525 babies were born and 4,300 surgeries were performed at the hospital.

The economic benefit of the hospital to the community, Shur said, is approximately $89 million, including $44 million in direct spending for such things as wages and salaries, and equipment and supply purchases.

Summit Health, which owns both Waynesboro and Chambersburg hospitals, will be making other investments at Waynesboro, Shur said. New 64-slice diagnostic scanners costing about $1.5 million each are being purchased for both hospitals, he said.

"It is amazing, gee-whiz equipment" and is the most expensive piece of equipment ever purchased for the hospital, Shur said.

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