New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul was at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie Thursday to see how state money is helping construct a new patient pavilion.
Lieutenant Governor Hochul says New York has invested $3.7 million toward the $500 million patient pavilion project at Vassar Brothers Medical Center.
“It’ll create jobs but also offer the people of the Hudson Valley area first rate, really world-class healthcare in this facility when it opens in two-and-a-half years. So I wanted to come and see personally how our taxpayer dollars are being spent, very wisely, I would say, in this facility and also to put out the challenge to the community to respond to the request for more employees here,” Hochul says. “They have 300 job openings which are going unfilled at this time. And these are incredible opportunities for movement, upward mobility to start even for someone with a high-school degree who can continue their education once they come here. So it’s a great environment.”
It’s the biggest construction project the City of Poughkeepsie has ever seen. Hochul toured prototypes of a critical care room and patient room.
There was a September groundbreaking for the patient pavilion with an anticipated completion date of June 2019. The $500 million investment is to build a 696,000 square-foot pavilion and renovate 14,000 square feet of existing space. The result will include 30 critical care rooms and 264 private patient rooms designed with family members and loved ones in mind. Each patient room will have a pullout sofa bed and TV.
Ann McMackin is president of Vassar Brothers Medical Center. Noting that Vassar Brothers is the largest hospital between Albany and Westchester, she says the expansion includes a new emergency room and trauma center.
“So currently we have only 35 bays in our emergency department. We’re going to double those. We’re going to have a whole new place for EMS, which will be great. That’s really the front door for a lot of the patients that come here,” says McMackin. “So having a new emergency department with excellent x-ray capabilities and trauma bays and a great place for EMS, that’s the most exciting for me.”
Of the $3.7 million the state is investing in the project, $2.5 million was awarded as part of the latest round of economic development funding Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in December. Dennis Murray co-chairs the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council.
“The fact that this hospital project has already received two grants from the Council shows how important we recognize this project is, not only for the City of Poughkeepsie but for the entire region in terms of providing quality healthcare,” Murray says. “But also we’re very hopeful because it’s located in an inner city, in the City of Poughkeepsie, that there will be ancillary benefits. It will help the mayor here in the city to try to accomplish the turnaround that he’s trying to pursue.”
“It gives the opportunity for the community to feel good about themselves. Some of our communities are harder hit than others. And while this area has a low unemployment rate, which is a good indicator, 3.9 percent is better than a lot of parts of our state, there’s still a lot of people in need,” Hochul says. “And sometimes just a physical change, a beautiful building, a state-of-the-art facility that you would expect to see in a major city, sends a message that this is a great area to live, to work, to raise a family and to just get an education and stay here.”
Republican state Senator Sue Serino was on hand.
“When people are looking to come to an area, besides looking at schools, jobs, but hospitals are so important,” Serino says. “So this is such a draw for our community. I’m really excited about it. I’m excited for the City of Poughkeepsie with our mayor. I just think it’s great.”
The project is expected to create 21 permanent jobs inside the hospital and up to 750 construction-related jobs over the course of the three-year project.