Friday, September 2, 2011

York Hospital Celebrates Groundbreaking in Kittery

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
More than 150 people gathered in what has been a vacant lot at the intersection of State Road and Walker Street Tuesday to take part in a groundbreaking ceremony for a new York Hospital medical facility.
On a site which has been a parking lot for Portsmouth Naval Shipyard workers and a long-gone car wash, the hospital will build a walk-in care center with diagnostic laboratory and imaging services, and will house Kittery Family Practice and also specialty physician offices including Family Ear, Nose and Throat, the practice of surgeons Brett Rankin and Christopher Sarno.
The project, estimated to cost $7,725,000 is expected to be up and operating in late fall of 2012. It will be a 22,000 square foot facility.
Some of the services now located on the Route 1 Bypass will be moved to the new location but others will remain where they are.
“This project has been a long time in the works,” Jud Knox, president of York Hospital said at the close of the brief ceremony. “We bought this property years ago with the intent of creating a new kind of presence in Kittery, but things just didn’t seem to come together.”
Kittery Family Practice, now located at 22 Shapleigh Road, began in half of the Kittery Water District Building on an opposite corner of the intersection, and has outgrown its current home. Dr. Fred Thaler, one of the physicians involved with that practice, said, “It’s going to be great to be back in the old neighborhood.”
“We know we must do a better job [in Kittery] and that’s why we’re here today,” said Lorraine Boston, chairwoman of the York Hospital Board of Trustees.
She said the trustees have committed the financial resources for the project but part of the financing will be a $500,000 fund drive within the local communities.
That drive, she said, will be headed by Jeff Pelkey of J. S. Pelkey Funeral Home, and current chairman of the Greater York Region Chamber of Commerce.
Knox said the new facility is York Hospital’s “commitment to the residents of Kittery. We are here, in fact, to serve you today and in the future. And why is York Hospital here? Because you are very important to us.”
Knox said this project is “part of our philosophy of trying to get medical care into communities and trying to get as close to neighborhoods and as close to patients and their families as possible.”
Judith Spiller, chairwoman of the Kittery Town Council, said the York Hospital facility on the site will create “more business” for local establishments and, hopefully, “more businesses” in the future.
The Kittery facility joins facilities in South Berwick, Wells, Berwick, North Berwick and York, as well as the 79-bed hospital in York Village.
The design team for the project includes Lassell Architects of South Berwick, and Attar Engineering of Eliot. The building contractor is Eckman Construction of Bedford, N.H.
Photo caption: From left to right: Lisle Rankin, Family Ear, Nose and Throat; Jeff Pelkey, Greater York Region Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Ed McAbee, Kittery Family Practice; Lorraine Boston, chairwoman, York Hospital Board of Trustees; Henry Warner, treasurer, York Hospital Board of Trustees; Judith Spiller, chairwoman, Kittery Town Council; and Jud Knox, president, York Hospital. (Photo by Larry Favinger)