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Nursing home project to cost more

Contractors working on a $103 million project to build a new nursing home on the Erie County Medical Center campus got a surprise when they started digging in August.

A concrete foundation from an incinerator that once operated on the site had never been removed.

The hospital estimates it will cost $750,000 to remove the foundation before the nursing home project can move forward. The additional cost will be absorbed by a $3.7 million contingency line included in the project's $86 million budget for construction.

"We have this contingency for things like this, but we're also hoping as the project goes forward to save money wherever we can," said Thomas J. Quatroche Jr., the medical center's senior vice president of marketing and planning.

Quatroche does not expect the removal of the foundation to affect the targeted January 2013 opening date of the new nursing home.

"Everything is still on track," he said.

The hospital broke ground for the 390-bed nursing home on the hospital's Grider Street campus in July.

Contractors completed bore tests on the land to determine soil depth but did not discover the leftover foundation until excavation work began in August, Quatroche said.

The project is part of a $150 million expansion at the medical center that includes the construction of a new kidney transplant and dialysis facility, as well as a parking ramp, and the expansion of orthopedic services.

The expansion plans also include the demolition of eight buildings on the ECMC campus.

The new nursing home on Grider will replace the 80-year-old county home in Alden, as well as long-term care beds now located in the hospital.

The hospital, a public-benefit corporation, borrowed $98 million for the nursing home project through financing arranged by the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority. The state-appointed control board can borrow money at a lower interest rate than the hospital.

Ninety percent of the project cost is reimbursed by Medicaid, Quatroche said.

The county also allocated $11.5 million toward the construction of the new nursing home under a settlement agreement ECMC reached with the county in 2009.


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