By DENISE A. RAYMO
---- — MALONE — Construction can begin on the skilled-nursing and assisted-living center that merges Franklin County’s nursing home with the one owned by Alice Hyde Medical Center.
The State Department of Health issued a certificate of need Thursday, news that County Manager Thomas Leitz received in person while in Albany to advocate for the merger.
The Alice Hyde Medical Center Nursing/Assisted Living Facility will be situated on existing hospital property off Elm Street and create 135 nursing-home beds and assisted-living quarters for 30 people.
The county will pay Alice Hyde $1 million a year for 10 years as its portion of the $36 million project.
The County Highway Department will build a roadway between Elm and Constable streets for an additional access point.
County Legislature Chairman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay) said construction of the center can begin “as soon as possible” and that it could be completed by the end of 2014.
“I see us as being a model county, and we’ll see other counties doing this with their hospitals,” said Legislator Guy “Tim” Smith (D-Fort Covington).
ROAD NEEDED SOON
Preliminary drawings show a three-story skilled-care center with a two-story rear section and a large courtyard in the center. A second two-story building to the right will be assisted-living space with room for expansion.
The nursing homes were each built in 1968.
The County Nursing Home on Finney Boulevard has 80 beds, and Alice Hyde Nursing Home on Park Street has 75.
The Town of Malone agreed to be lead agency in the State Department of Environmental Conservation Environmental Quality Review for the project.
Two associated issues were also discussed Thursday.
County Highway Superintendent Jonathan Hutchins said he hadn’t planned on committing time to the road-construction project for the facility yet. He expressed surprise that he has to have at least a gravel road in place for construction crews this spring.
He had planned to phase in the work over a few years, but with the announcement Thursday, Hutchins will have to begin the job in a few weeks.
Construction would take about three months, he said.
“I’ve still got to do my own work,” the superintendent told legislators. “I thought I had time before they opened. It kind of went on the back burner for me.”
The other related issue is that the county is under federal orders to install a $400,000 sprinkler system in its existing Nursing Home before August.
Leitz has tried to obtain some kind of waiver because of the pending merger with Alice Hyde but has had no luck.
Legislators said Thursday they will have to go ahead with the installation then decide what they want to do with the building once the residents have been moved to the new facility next year.
Email Denise A. Raymo:email@example.com