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Memorial launches $6.7 million in renovations; Upgrades include new equipment, improvements to treatment areas

Construction workers aren't taking the summer off at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.

Instead, they're focused on $6.7 million in capital improvements that run the gamut from clinical area renovations and equipment purchases to campus renovations that improve accessibility and comfort.

"Keeping people healthy in the 21st century begins with providing a modern medical home that is warm and welcoming, technologically current and staffed to provide high-quality care," Memorial President and CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo said in a statement. "The investments we are making are truly transformational and send a clear message: The old Memorial is history. The new Memorial is leading the way as a center for community health."

Projects under way or scheduled to begin in the next several weeks include:

*The $1.3 million renovation of a second-floor medical-surgical unit in the hospital's Penn Schoellkopf Building.

*Construction of a new $1.1 million interventional radiology suite.

*A $1 million surgical suite renovation and expansion that includes the addition of another operating theater.

*A $1 million program of parking ramp improvements, including new elevators and the enclosure of the elevator landings on each level.

*Upgrades to the hospital's main entrance that include bright, attractive lighting and the installation of a curbside canopy.

*Technology and equipment upgrades in the labor and delivery unit.

*Purchase of new telemetry, digital mammography, EKG Holter and ultrasound equipment along with new emergency department patient monitors and motorized stretcher beds.

*Construction of a Tim Hortons Cafe and Bake Shop on the hospital's first floor.

Technology and patient area improvements also are planned for the Summit Healthplex.

The projects complement the recent expansion of primary care offices at Memorial's Medical Office Building, the Summit Healthplex and Freedom Place on Grand Island. They are being undertaken at the same time as the reconstruction of Tenth Street in front of the medical center.

"In addition, we are replacing the medical center's main boiler," Ruffolo said, "an investment that will pay for itself over and over in improved energy efficiency."

Nearly half of the planned improvements -- about $3.2 million worth -- are being funded through HEAL-NY, a state program to reform and reconfigure the state's health care delivery system and encourage efficiency, said Ann Marie Tucker, Memorial's vice president for foundation and community relations.

"Significant additional support has come to us by way of federal Community Block grant funding administered by the city of Niagara Falls and grants from such organizations as the John R. Oishei Foundation, James R. Cummings Foundation and Grigg-Lewis Foundation," Tucker said. "We are grateful for the confidence they have shown in our strategic plan to improve the health of the community we serve and give them a better patient experience."

For complete coverage, go to buffalonews.com/niagarafalls.

e-mail: niagaranews@buffnews.com