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Ground broken on new medical center

June 30, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

McCONNELLSBURG, Pa. -- Fulton County, Pa., community leaders broke ground Tuesday for a new Fulton County Medical Center facility they say will create jobs and help the county's distressed economy.

McConnellsburg contractor Palmer Construction will oversee development of a $4.8 million patient-services building, where specialty doctors like neurologists and cardiologists will have offices.

Construction is expected to last one year at the Peach Orchard Road site where the hospital relocated in 2007.

"We believe it's the right time to build, to consolidate our services," said Jason F. Hawkins, the medical center's president and CEO.

Guests for the groundbreaking ceremony included U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster and the Fulton County Commissioners.

Shuster, R-Pa., elicited applause when he talked about his opposition to forming a government-run health-care system.

"This medical center is an example of people working together in a community -- the private sector and public sector," he said.

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Bill Dovey from the medical center's board of directors thanked a host of donors, including Andy and Joyce Washabaugh for donating 22 acres of land, and those who attended spaghetti dinner and auction fundraisers.

"I'm struck by how we never give up. From everyone that gave a quarter to a million dollars, that makes us who we are," said Dr. Sharon E. Martin, president of the medical staff.

She said the doctors who will use the patient-services building once worked in cramped rooms, then modular buildings.

Hawkins said he hopes construction and the new offices create jobs in Fulton County, where the unemployment rate is 13.4 percent.

"We are mighty glad it's happening in our down times ... that you have the vision to keep going," Commissioner David R. Hoover II said.

Commissioner Daniel H. Swain Jr. called the medical center "the linchpin" in the county economy.

"It's a multifaceted blessing. We bless them by giving, and they bless us by giving back," Commissioner Bonnie Mellott Keefer said.

Confirmed physician services include cardiology, general surgery, therapy, midwifery, neurology, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, orthopedics, outpatient surgery, plastic surgery, podiatry, pulmonology and urology. The second floor of the 16,000-square-foot building will house administrative offices.

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