October 16, 2018
UTICA, NY – The Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) today provided an update on the status of the new, regional healthcare campus. Topics included updates on the project in general, financing, repurposing RFP, the New York State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process and property acquisition.
Design meetings between the architectural firm working on the project, NBBJ, and MVHS providers and staff continue with a focus on the design and layout of the various rooms in the new hospital. Mock-rooms are being constructed at the MVHS New Hartford Medical Office – Crossroads location. Once complete, the rooms will be used to help the staff test the designs and layouts they’ve come up with to ensure they work in real-life situations.
“It’s exciting to see our physicians and staff so engaged in the design process for the new hospital,” said Robert Scholefield, RN, MS, executive vice president/COO for MVHS. “They are the ones who will be using the space, so it’s important that they are significantly involved in the planning stages. We want to be sure the space and layout work for the care that will be provided by our excellent staff.”
MVHS plans to host future opportunities for the community to view the aesthetic facility designs and campus integration.
The cost projection for the regional healthcare campus is estimated to be $480 million for a 373-bed, 672,000-square-foot facility. In April 2017, MVHS was awarded the $300 million Health Care Facility Transformation grant to create an integrated healthcare delivery system in Oneida County. MVHS recently signed the Phase I Grants contract with the New York State Department of Health which allows MVHS to begin to utilize a portion of the $300 million grant.
The remaining $180 million will come from MVHS capital, bonds and fundraising. Over the past few months, the Finance Team at MVHS has worked to secure the financing needed to fund the project above what the NYS grant provides. MVHS has selected a bank and is currently working on finalizing the loan agreement.
Repurposing Request for Proposal (RFP)
In July 2018, MVHS sent out a RFP for the repurposing of the current facilities to six potential companies. The proposals are due back at the end of this week and to date, MVHS has received three responses. In order to ensure a comprehensive evaluation, the repurposing project will look at the potential reuse of all MVHS campuses, including the St. Luke’s, St. Elizabeth and Faxton Campuses. Based on prior assessments, MVHS previously stated it is likely the Faxton Campus will remain open; however Faxton was included in the RFP to ensure that keeping the campus open is the proper course of action. MVHS seeks to select a company to perform the reuse study by the end of September.
The City of Utica Planning Board voted to accept the final scoping document presented by MVHS in July 2018. The final scoping document outlines what will be addressed in the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the hospital project and includes issues identified during the public and agency review process. MVHS is now working on a draft EIS to address issues identified in the final scoping document. It is anticipated that the draft EIS will be submitted to the City Planning Board in the Fall of 2018. Following acceptance of the draft EIS by the City Planning Board, a public comment period and hearing will be scheduled to solicit substantive comments on the draft EIS. Following the comment period, a final EIS will be prepared, which accounts for the substantive public and agency input.
MVHS and Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC (BSK), the law firm handling the property acquisition process, continue to work with the property owners to finalize the agreements.
Of the 35 property owners representing 72 parcels of land in the downtown project footprint, not including the parcels owned by the City of Utica, which are in the process of being transferred:
- Nineteen property owners have completed or are in the process of completing a signed, purchase-option agreement with MVHS. This group represents 54 percent of the property owners in the project footprint.
- Ten property owners are in active negotiation with MVHS and BSK.
- Six property owners have not responded or have indicated they are not interested in any type of agreement.
“MVHS and its partners have been working with interested property owners in the project footprint to ensure that their relocation occurs as smoothly as possible,” said Joseph Wicks, special projects coordinator for The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties. “Those efforts are continuing, so that this transition takes into account the needs of the entire community – just as the project will benefit the entire region.”