New jobs, healthy revenue streams and good corporate neighbor are a few of the benefits Coordinated Health CEO David Weikel said his company will bring to Mahoning Township with the construction of a new 35-acre health care campus just west of Frederick's Grove Road, along the north side of Route 443.
He and his development partners displayed a high level conceptual sketch plan and description of the project to the supervisors last night. They agreed with a 3-0 motion to forward the sketch plans for the facility to the township engineer and zoning officer to begin the process of working on the project.
"We came tonight to tell you about our project and let you know we want to work with you to be a responsible neighbor," said Weikel to the supervisors during the meeting. He and his development partners brought a conceptual sketch plan of the proposed campus that will service patients with bone, muscular and joint conditions by providing doctors' offices, therapists and short term surgery options for their clientele.
Weikel said this would join nine other locations throughout the Lehigh Valley that offer this set of services.
"We currently have a short-term stay facility in Allentown and one in Bethlehem that contains 14 operating rooms."
The new facility would consist of four operating suites and 10 private patient rooms for short term surgeries. He said they project treating 5,000 patients surgically in the first year.
"Last year, we had 500 surgeries in our Lehigh Valley locations from Carbon-Monroe clients, so we would expect that a more local facility would generate more business," Weikel said.
Weikel added that the short-term facility would generate 75 new jobs and a projected first-year revenue of $13 million with a $1.7 million dollar tax base that would be new for the township. The physician offices would create 50 additional jobs and they project 75,000 patient visits in the first year generating $5 million in revenue.
He pointed out that Coordinated Health is a for-profit corporation that would be taxable and generate revenue for the township unlike a nonprofit entity. The corporation currently has nine locations with 50 doctors and 900 employees who treated 600,000 patients last year.
"We were the number one-rated hospital for patient satisfaction in the Lehigh Valley as well as rated as a five star company for knee and joint replacements," Weikel added.
Staff engineer Carly Patterson of Pennoni Associates in Allentown walked supervisors through the planned campus. The development would be completed in three phases. The first phases would be the short-term surgery facility and offices on the eastern side of the property and situated perpendicular to Route 443. This facility would have 700 parking spaces interspersed with trees to break up the impervious parking spaces. The second phase would introduce a physician office building across the parking lot to the west of the first building. The final phase would consist of another building to the west of the second building with its own entrance.
The property would also have three retention basins on the northern perimeter of the buildings designed to drain toward the Mahoning Creek.
Supervisor Travis Steigerwalt asked about the main entrance to the building and expressed concerns over the traffic signal planned for the intersection. One of the development team members mentioned the signal was recommended by PennDOT. Vice Chairman Frank Ruch, who was running the meeting in the absence of Chairman John Wieczorek, pointed out the intersection was probably no more than 1,000 feet from the existing Wal-Mart signal.
"I would really like to see if there is something that could be done to eliminate the additional light," said Steigerwalt. "We have so many lights along that road and already planned that I fear it would make the road even more difficult to travel." He mentioned that an adjacent property owner, Mr. Beltz, would be willing to discuss an easement to Fredericks' Grove Road. Patterson and Weikel said they were open to discuss different ideas for trying to accommodate the request.
Supervisor Linda Benner asked who would fill the potential jobs that would be created by the facility.
"I'm curious to know if you already have people in mind or would you be hiring with a preference toward local folks?"
Weikel said he would expect to move the 10 employees from the just-opened Lehighton location to the campus, but other than them, he fully expected to hire as many employees locally as possible.
"This is a doctor's office so we need to be sure people can get there in bad weather, so it would make sense to hire people that live close to the campus."
At the conclusion of the discussion, the board of supervisors voted 3-0, with Wieczorek and Supervisor George Stawnyczyj absent, to present the plan to the township engineer and zoning officer for an initial review and recommendations. Weikel thanked the board for its positive support of the project and looked forward to working with the township on this development.