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Construction scheduled on eye clinic

Plans for a new eye research and treatment center on Main Street near the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus are moving ahead.

Construction of the Ira G. Ross Eye Institute is expected to get under way next month. University Ophthalmology Services will develop the 22,000-square-foot medical complex at 1176 Main St., rehabilitating a building that fronts Main Street and adding a 7,000-square-foot structure at its rear.

The project also will include an enclosed walkway connecting to the Elizabeth Pierce Olmsted Center for the Visually Impaired. The $8.4 million project, which is being funded primarily through the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, will bring eye specialists and researchers under one roof.

The facility will contain examination/consulting rooms, an imaging center, pathology labs, administration offices and a medical library. The project also will involve landscaping, sidewalk and lighting improvements.

The project, first proposed in November 2003, received a green light from the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency last week, along with $300,000 to assist in creating eight full-time jobs. The institute will focus on outpatient care, especially to the indigent, along with research opportunities for UB Medical School staff and students.

"This is another sign that the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is drawing further investment to that Main Street neighborhood," Buffalo Mayor Anthony M. Masiello said.

"We're not only going to get a world-class eye treatment and research center in the heart of the city, it's furthering efforts to revitalize a key city neighborhood."

The planned Ira G. Ross Eye Institute and the Olmsted Center will be linked by more than a walkway. The new clinic will be named for the late second husband of Dr. Elizabeth Pierce Olmsted. Ross was president of Cornell Aeronautical Laboratories, which became Calspan Corp. He died in 1991.

e-mail: slinstedt@buffnews.com

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