FORESTVILLE - After a devastating flood three years ago which caused the shutdown of a hospital and medical building closure with at least two site relocations, Forestville Primary Care Center once again has a permanent location in a new, modern state of the art facility at 10988 Bennett State Road.
The public, health care staff, government and municipal representatives, business leaders and others involved in the construction project recently joined together for an official ribbon cutting event and tours.
"The opening of this beautiful new clinic represents a critical milestone in our flood recovery efforts and our promises to not only maintain services, but to utilize every opportunity to enhance access to high quality of care throughout the region. We are proud to open the doors of a facility that not only replaces what was lost, but which is designed to meet the needs of our community for years to come," said Jonathan I. Lawrence, President and CEO of Lake Erie Regional Health System. "Our staff looks forward to providing care to our neighbors and surrounding communities in this modern facility with the features and amenities necessary to ensure patient access and comfort."
OBSERVER Photo by Matt Panebianco
Celebrating the official ribbon-cutting at the new location of Forestville Primary Care Center on Bennett State Road are staff members (from left) Dr. Ronald Greco; Kathy Stelley, clinic coder; Nancy Lance, RPA-C; Lorinda Boutelle, manager, Primary Care Clinics; and Cheryl Matern, medical receptionist. The public, staff, government and municipal representatives, business leaders and others involved in the construction project joined together for event and tours at the facility which opened earlier this month.
The facility recently relocated from the Forestville Primary Care Center's temporary location at 4 Hanover Road in Forestville.
Linda Summers, Chief Operating Officer at TLC Health Network, called the new 3,000 square foot location "a jewel in the middle of the county."
"This gives people another option for easy-to-access appointments for a full range of primary care services for patients of all ages, from pediatrics to the elderly," she said.
The building, open weekdays, is staffed with physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants and is located 15 minutes from the Dunkirk/Fredonia area.
The new building is the final home and chapter in a story which began with a flood in August 2009, forcing the closure of Tri-County Memorial Hospital and the collapse of the Parson's Building in Forestville which had housed the medical clinic. The first temporary site for community medical services in Forestville was the American Legion J. Carter Knapp Auxiliary Post 953 on Cedar Street in 2009. The following year, medical services were moved to a specially-designed mobile clinic facility about a mile away on leased land located on Hanover Street. The mobile unit had previously been used for a similar purpose in another location outside the area prior to its move to Forestville.
"While we continue to navigate the regulatory and organizational planning process related to the permanent replacement of services that were lost in the Gowanda area, we are pleased that this project has had such a successful outcome," Lawrence added.
Lawrence expressed his appreciation for the ongoing support of U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, state Sen. Cathy Young, Assemblyman Joe Giglio, Assemblyman Andy Goodell and County Executive Greg Edwards, stating "Their unwavering advocacy, assistance, and encouragement have been essential to our ongoing efforts and continuing success." He also voiced his appreciation to the leadership and members of the American Legion for making that facility available for use so soon after the clinic's initial displacement.
The new Forestville facility was constructed with the aid of FEMA grant funds, obtained through assistance from Simmons Recovery Consulting, Ballston Spa, NY. Architects for the new Forestville building are Kideney Architects of Buffalo. Telco Construction, Inc. of East Aurora, was responsible for construction of the building.
Summers describes the new medical facility as a single story structure, featuring large windows to take advantage of the unique setting among picturesque vineyards and 16-foot ceilings.
"There's a lot of natural light inside to provide a bright feeling to the interior," she said. "We wanted to find something in the right location and this is nearly a stone's throw from the existing clinic."
Visitors and patients to the new site will note the stone facade at the base of the exterior walls of the building and calming earth-tone color palette selected for the interior. "It's designed to fit into the natural setting where it's located," she said.
Just inside the door, visitors will feel the spaciousness of the hallways, designed for ease of accessibility along with some specially-selected waiting room furniture for the comfort of larger patients. Another unique feature is a mezzanine which provides more ground floor square footage allotted for patient care areas.
Lauralee Sprague, MSN, FNP-C, said she is "thrilled" with the new facility.
"This beautiful new building will enable us to provide the highest quality of care to our patients. They've been so faithful in sticking with us through the transitions over the past couple of years since the loss of our original building. We're so thankful for them," she said.
LERHSNY officials noted their appreciation to numerous officials for their assistance throughout the many phases of the project. "We're especially grateful to the Town of Hanover for its support and assistance in working through the permitting and other processes required for construction on this project. Its cooperation was extremely helpful," he said, noting the assistance of Code Enforcement Officer Thomas Gould, CFM.
Officials also provided special thanks to Forestville officials for assistance in getting the village water supply to the facility, including Bill Benzoni, former village of Forestville DPW and Mike Press, Press Construction, Forestville.
Lawrence also expressed his appreciation on behalf of the Health System to the providers and employees representing Forestville "sometimes working in less than optimal conditions (during the transitions). We're very pleased that they now have a beautiful work environment to call home," he said.