July 26, 2006
Breaking New Ground
Hospital Expansion Commences
Scorching heat and oppressive humidity did not stop scores of attendees from turning out for a groundbreaking ceremony for a $50 million expansion project at Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead last week.
Joseph Van de Wetering, chairman of the PBMC board of directors, said the proposed expansion will mark the building of "tomorrow's medical center today," featuring a new emergency center facility "designed to provide the most advanced" medical care on the East End.
The expansion will encompass a new operating room complex, a first-time ob/gyn "new life center," and a 10,000 square foot addition to the emergency room department that will include private rooms for patients and a separate division to accommodate Riverhead's prison inmate population.
After the groundbreaking on the new emergency room last week, the next step will continue with a 60,000 square foot, three-story building to follow in mid-fall. The ER phase has a pricetag of approximately $8 million and is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2008.
Each guest received a tiny shovel pin. "The shovel is a symbol of the task that lies before us as we labor to break new ground on the East End," said Van de Wetering.
Senator Ken LaValle said the burgeoning East End "is a place where people choose to live. With that growth, we need to address individuals' medical needs."
Change began at the former Central Suffolk Medical Center with an alliance with Stony Brook University Hospital, which has the area's only Level 1 trauma center, leading to a rotation of Stony Brook personnel to PBMC's emergency room. Earlier this year, the hospital's name was changed to reflect the facility's new face.
Recently, Andrew J. Mitchell, president and CEO of PBMC, said, with a team of specialists lined up in areas such as orthopedics and sports medicine, the goal is to move forward into a new era of care.
PBMC plans to finance approximately $40 million of the project; Mitchell announced a letter of credit was received from HSBC Bank.
At last week's groundbreaking, Mitchell said he saw many founding fathers of the original Central Suffolk Hospital, founded 55 years ago. "Today the story is really no different," said Mitchell. "But the outcome will be more spectacular."