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Fredonia chosen for location of new hospital

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After a year of planning and zoning challenges with the Town of Pomfret, Brooks-TLC Hospital System is picking a different location for their new hospital.

A 29-bed facility will be built in the Village of Fredonia, replacing their 65-bed facility currently in Dunkirk.

President Mary LaRowe said a new building with new technology is needed to accommodate their patients who have recently needed more direct care services.

“It’s a challenge for some of our folks to walk through the front door and meander their way through to find an outpatient area,” LaRowe said. “So it becomes somewhat of a challenge from that perspective. But it’s also very inefficient for our staff having to run down long hallways and to address patient needs going forward. They will be much more efficient.”

LaRowe said the cost of retro fitting the older facility would have been cost prohibitive.

“Many of them have asbestos. The challenges of renovating on top of patient care areas causes some challenges for us,” she said. “From a parking standpoint in trying to do some renovations you have to alleviate some of the parking to have your construction vehicles, etcetera. And the cost of doing that is prohibitive.”

A reuse community committee will help identify what community wants to do with old building.

“We started out with probably 24 sites that were recommended to us. (We) narrowed that down to a small number and then identified this site as well as another as scoring fairly similarly.”

LaRowe said they are hoping to get a shovel in the ground by spring this year and would take at least 18 months to build. The project itself is about $67 million and the funding via two grants is already in place. It is expected to be completed by sometime in 2020.

Nick Lippa leads our Arts & Culture Coverage, and is also the lead reporter for the station's Mental Health Initiative, profiling the struggles and triumphs of those who battle mental health issues and the related stigma that can come from it.