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Hospice of the Panhandle breaks ground for new facility

June 13, 2012|By TRISH RUDDER | trishr@herald-mail.com
  • Hospice of the Panhandle Chief Executive Officer Margaret Cogswell, right, enjoys a laugh Wednesday with Bill and Sally Smith of Washington D.C. prior to a groundbreaking ceremony for a new Hospice facility. Sally Smith was a fundraising consultant for the project.
By Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — A ground-breaking ceremony Wednesday on the Jefferson/Berkeley County line kicked off construction of the new Hospice of the Panhandle inpatient facility and office complex.

Construction on the two separate buildings is to begin next month.

Two-thirds of the new facility will be in Jefferson County and the rest in Berkeley County, according to Hospice Chief Executive Officer Margaret Cogswell. The 14-bed, 23,000-square-foot inpatient facility is a one-story building, while the 28,000-square-foot office complex is two stories.

Cogswell said Hospice secured $8 million to build the $11.6 million complex with help from the Jefferson and Berkeley county governments, which will administer the loan. The Jefferson County Commission agreed to administer $6 million and Berkeley County $2 million through the issuance of tax-free bonds.

Cogswell said Hospice has received $3.3 million in pledges and donations.

“This is a community project, and we would not be breaking ground without their help,” she said.

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The Rev. G.T. Schramm, president of Hospice’s board of directors, said the agency will continue fundraising to pay for the project.

“We want to pay off all of it so there will be more for patient care,” he said.

Hospice Development Director Maria Lorensen said Hospice purchased the 19 acres of land from a private individual, who was helped by the agency when a family member needed care.

“The reason we receive this level of support is about the care that is provided,” she said.

Hospice currently has four properties in the Eastern Panhandle and will sell the Waverly Court office and the house across the street from it in Martinsburg, W.Va., and it will no longer need to rent another Martinsburg property. The Romney, W.Va., property will continue to serve Hampshire and Morgan counties, Lorensen said.

Cogswell said Hospice provides end-of-life care to about 200 patients a day, primarily in their homes in Berkeley, Jefferson, Hampshire and Morgan counties.

The inpatient facility will help patients with short-term pain and symptom management issues and will offer respite care to family members who need a break from caregiving. The average length of stay for patients will be about five days.

Each room will be private and have a pull-out sofa so family members can stay with patients, she said.

Donna Washington has worked as a Hospice crisis care nurse for five years.

“Symptom management is what we do,” she said. “We give excellent end-of-life care. We owe it to our families and community,” Washington said.

“This is a wonderful cause, and it’s nice to see the community working together in the Eastern Panhandle.

Amazing things happen when people work together,” said West Virginia first lady Joanne Tomblin.

The building project is expected to be completed in January 2014.

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