“We wanted to give them plenty of time to prepare,” said Kevin Ronayne, vice president of operations and facilities at Saratoga Hospital.
The hospital hasn’t given the county the official one-year notice of lease termination that is required, but it is expected to do so soon.
“We just started the talking part of [the relocating] process,” said Supervisor Richard Rowland, chairman of the subcommittee tasked with finding the mental health center a new home. “We looked at a couple sites just to get our heads wrapped around it, but we’re very, very preliminary.”
While county officials begin the arduous process of finding a centrally-located, easily accessible and affordable location for their mental health services, the hospital is looking forward to doing some much-needed expansion. Expansion that is currently not possible due to the mental health unit’s residency in the Cramer House.
“The hospital property is a Planned Unit Development that balances developed space with green space,” said Ronayne. “We are out of options for expanding the hospital footprint as our services grow.”
To accommodate this growth, it was decided to utilize the space where the Cramer House sits.
“By razing the Cramer House and replacing it with a modern, energy-efficient addition, we limit the growth of our footprint and can make use of the existing operating room space for the project – overall a very cost-effective solution for modernizing our operating room suite,” said Ronayne.
The hospital now houses 207 beds and has more than 299 admitting physicians, but it is still having trouble meeting consumer need.
“Our surgical volumes continue to grow, and the use of robotics and other specialized equipment in surgery has pushed our current space to its limits,” said Ronayne. “We are overdue to address the space issues in these areas.”
To accommodate these services, the hospital has tentative plans of demolishing the current Cramer House structure and replacing it with a potential three-story facility. The new building would provide ground-floor space for expansion of the central sterile processing and operating room supply storage areas; first-floor pre-operative space for surgical patients and post-operative space for short-stay surgical patients; and second-floor space for 10-12 new operating rooms.
“We continue to address our needs for space and inpatient beds,” said Ronayne. “Moving the pre- and post-operative patients to new space will allow us to reclaim some space that could be used for inpatient beds.”
Additionally, the hospital has plans to construct a new intensive care unit (ICU) in the shell space above the emergency department.
“If the budget allows, we also hope to add a third floor shell above the new ICU for future inpatient beds,” said Ronayne. “Over time, we plan to move toward more private and less semi-private patient rooms.”
These future renovations will allow for more patient-care options, and will help keep Saratoga Hospital positioned as a leader in the health care field. In the meantime, the county’s mental health center has the opportunity to streamline their services as well.
“We’re not being evicted,” said Rowland. “We’ve felt this coming for awhile. Whatever we look to lease will have the necessary facilities there for the unit to function.”
The hospital and the county will continue working together to make sure that mental health services will not be negatively affected.
“We will continue to provide inpatient mental health services, and the county will continue to take care of the outpatient services,” said Ronayne.