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Ground was broken Monday morning for the $16.3 million reconstruction of the Chautauqua County Home on Temple Road.

The work, which will be done in phases, is expected to be completed by June 2003. The 40-year-old facility will continue to be in use during the project.

County Executive Mark Thomas was joined by County Home Administrator Tim Hellwig, members of the County Home Auxiliary, elected officials, contractors and labor leaders for the ceremony.

Under the project, four-bed wards and shared bathrooms will be eliminated, and the number of private rooms will increase. The kitchen, living, dining and activity facilities will also be improved. The physical, occupational and speech therapy departments will be expanded and improved.

Also, the front entrance will be made accessible to the disabled and the lobby expanded, and a gift shop developed.

The general contractor is E.E. Austin & Son, Falconer. Other contractors are Frey Electric Construction and Joseph Davis Fire Protection. John W. Danforth Co. is the heating and air-conditioning contractor.

The work features a project labor agreement reached between the county and 19 local building and trades organizations, part of the Southwestern New York Buildings and Trades Council, AFL-CIO. This is the first time such an agreement has been negotiated in the public or private sector in the county, according to officials.

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