Press-Republican

December 11, 2012

Hospice buys trooper barracks

By DENISE A. RAYMO
Press-Republican

---- — MALONE — Hospice of the North Country has a new home on Route 11 in Malone at the former New York State Police barracks.

The closing was Monday, and agency officials hope to have renovations completed and to be moved in by late spring, said Chief Executive Officer Kent Brooks.

NEEDED VISIBILITY

Hospice, which has a second office in Plattsburgh, was housed at 104 Park St. in rent-free space owned by Alice Hyde Medical Center.

But Brooks said that one of the priorities outlined in the agency’s five-year strategic plan was to move into its own building, not only to provide more space for the staff but to raise its presence in the area.

“We’re grateful to Alice Hyde for being so generous, but we felt a more visible location will demonstrate our commitment to the community and our stability,” he said.

“We’ve been in this community and been part of it for more than 20 years, but we want to show that we are here and here to stay.”

THE RIGHT TIME

The office will be moving from about 1,800 square feet into about 3,500 square feet of usable space at the former barracks, which has been unoccupied since the State Police moved into a new building on the west side of Malone in 2009.

Brooks said there had been discussions a few years ago about merging the Malone and Plattsburgh offices to a central location in Ellenburg, but the idea of creating separate offices won out.

It has taken the Malone site a little more time to develop into its own place, he said.

“For the past four or fives years, we’ve worked really hard to manage things more efficiently and feel this is finally the reasonable time to do this.”

STORAGE SPACE

The agency paid $165,000 for the building, which was owned by John Biondo. It includes a two-bay garage and a full basement, which will save Hospice $2,000 to $3,000 a year in off-site storage costs, Brooks said.

The garage could be converted into four more offices, if needed, he said.

The move to larger quarters means the staff — Brooks included — can stop sharing space.

“I share an office with the director of nursing, and sometimes we share a phone,” he laughed. “We even have someone using the kitchenette in the back. We’ve just outgrown this space.”

HOPING FOR GROWTH

Brooks said the agency casually looked at other sites, “but we decided this was the best place for us in Malone. It’s attractive, and there is lots of traffic going by. It’s a beautiful building.”

He said that when the Plattsburgh office moved to its Tom Miller Road site, it saw a dramatic increase in the number of walk-in visits, and he feels the same is possible in Malone.

He said it’s not unheard of to have someone walk in and request hospice services, drop off donations or thank the staff for care a loved one received.

“We had a lot of growth in Plattsburgh,” Brooks said, adding that even though an open house will be held later in the spring, visitors can drop in after that to tour the new facility.

“It’s important that people see us.”

Email Denise A. Raymo: draymo@pressrepublican.com