GOWANDA – Although there may not be a hospital coming to Gowanda and the surrounding areas, Lake Erie Regional Health System of New York is proposing to expand its Gowanda Urgent Care facility.
Dave Zielinski, architect of Cannon Design along with John Shields of Fisher Associates, came to the Gowanda Village Board meeting to ask, along with Code Enforcement Officer Gary Brecker, for a building permit.
“We know we’re not going to have a hospital,” Brecker said. “Since we’re not getting a hospital, they (LERHSNY) would like to enlarge their facility.”
Following the flood in 2009 that destroyed Tri-County Memorial Hospital, LERHSNY built an urgent care facility at 42 Commercial St. Behind the permanent building are two trailers that house examining rooms. Since it was announced recently the hospital will not be rebuilt, LERHSNY wants to expand the building.
“In the back of that permanent building, they put in two trailers. They want to remove the trailers and put in a permanent building back there. Since the footprint is already there, I don’t see a reason to run this through the planning board. I would like to recommend the board approve this so we can move on with construction,” Brecker said.
Zielinski explained the new addition will have more examining rooms than the current four rooms in the trailer plus will add additional services. The addition will be the same width as the current trailers, but not as long. The current trailer is 25 by 74 feet, which is approximately 1,800 square feet. The new addition will be around 5,000 square feet.
“The new facility will have two more examining rooms, physical therapy, ultrasound and mammography,” Zielinski said.
LERHSNY has funding available for the project through a grant, according to Zielinski. To receive the funding however, the building has to be built by Dec. 31.
“If we don’t meet that deadline then we lose the funding … We’re trying to work aggressively to design this project …,” Zielinski said.
In order to be on that aggressive schedule, the village has to issue a building permit by early September at the latest, Zielinski said. The village board did not move on a building permit at the meeting but Mayor Heather McKeever said a special meeting would be called if necessary. Village Attorney Deborah Chadsey will talk with Brecker to ensure the plans would not be required to go through the village’s planning board.
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