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I think it recognizes the devotion that this institution has to our community

Major Adirondack Park employer expands in Saranac Lake

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One of the biggest employers in the Adirondack Park is looking to expand. A public hearing will be held tonight in Saranac Lake on Adirondack Medical Center's plan to build a two-story, 9,000-square-foot medical office building to treat patients with chronic wounds.

The $2.7 million project is the latest in a series of building upgrades for AMC over the last 10 years. Chris Knight reports.

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Chris Knight
Adirondack Correspondent

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The proposed wound care center would specialize in the treatment of patients such as the elderly, people with diabetes and vascular disease and cancer patients who've undergone radiation treatment. The center would be located behind AMC's hospital in Saranac Lake.

AMC President and CEO Chandler Ralph said there is a need for such a facility locally as the closest comparable wound care center is in Ogdensburg.

"As you know, diabetes is on the rise in this country almost exponentially," Ralph said Thursday. "One of the complications of diabetes is wounds that will not heal. There are other diseases that cause that as well. Its a real challenge in the community to find services like that."

The center would have a pair of hyperbaric chambers, which provide pressurized oxygen therapy that is designed to heal wounds quicker. Hospital officials said the wound-care center would serve between 200 and 300 patients per year. The new building would also have space for private physician practices.

To cover the $2.7 million price tag, the hospital will rely on a combination of financing and a fundraising campaign.

The proposed facility comes on the heels of another major construction project for AMC, which employs more than 900 people. Work was completed last year on a new $3.4 million medical office building in Tupper Lake.

Four years ago, the hospital purchased two nursing homes, in Lake Placid and Tupper Lake, and 10 years ago built another office building attached to AMC-Saranac Lake.

Ralph said the investments that have been made and others that are planned in the future show the hospital's commitment to the Adirondacks.

"I think it recognizes the devotion that this institution has to our community in continuing to stay on the forefront of what we need to serve our community," Ralph said.

The town of Harrietstown Planning Board will hold a public hearing on the proposed wound care center tonight at 7 p.m.

AMC officials hope to begin construction this summer and open the new facility in the fall.

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