By DENISE A. RAYMO
---- — MALONE — Franklin County legislators say they’d like a progress report from Alice Hyde Medical Center on a planned merger of their respective nursing homes.
The update would help the county decide what it’s going to do with its 85-bed nursing facility, which is under federal orders to install a $400,000 sprinkler system within a year and needs a new roof.
When it rains or when snow melts, water runs behind walls and across floors at the Nursing Home, forcing the evacuation of rooms and possibly formation of mold.
There has been talk of the Department of Social Services moving to the Finney Boulevard site after the merger so the sprinklers might not be needed if the Nursing Home becomes office space.
County Manager Thomas Leitz is investigating a possible waiver because of the pending merger so the county isn’t spending money unnecessarily. But, so far, there has been no guidance or avenue for a waiver process, he said.
Alice Hyde and the county have agreed to close their separate nursing homes, which were both built in 1968, and construct a 135-bed skilled-nursing facility with 30 assisted-living beds on the Medical Center’s campus off Park Street.
The deal, which is estimated to cost $35 million, has the county paying Alice Hyde $1 million a year for 10 years.
Legislators recently heard from County Operations Manager Larry Boardway, who said that patching the Nursing Home’s rubberized roof is no longer working.
He recommends replacement as soon as possible, before colder weather sets in again.
Boardway said the contours of the roof are no longer allowing water to drain off, so it’s pooling, seeping through and forcing the evacuation of the residents’ rooms in one wing.
“It’s hard to tell where every leak is coming from,” he said. “There’s water running between the walls, which causes mold.”
A half-dozen buckets were placed in rooms to catch drips, “and there was water running across the floor,” Boardway said.
WILL GET ESTIMATES
Initial estimates put the roof-replacement cost between $300,000 and $400,000, he said.
Leitz said there is money available in an account the Nursing Home built up last year when a lump-sum payment owed to it was received.
But rather than replace the roof, legislators hope to patch it for about $30,000 and get through the next year or 18 months as the nursing-home merger moves forward.
That way, the county will not spend as much in case legislators decide to sell the Nursing Home instead of converting it to office space.
Boardway is to obtain three estimates for the repairs and report back.
Email Denise A. Raymo: email@example.com