Andes health clinic plans unveiled by O'Connor Hospital

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By Pauline Liu
If all goes as planned, a new primary-care health clinic will be up and running in the Town of Andes by September. Drawings of the proposed facility were presented to the Andes Planning Board last Monday night by O’Connor Hospital Chief Operating Officer Edward McGrath. 

The presentation was the culmination of a year’s worth of planning by hospital administrators. “O’Connor plans to purchase the land, build it, and then we hope to turn it over to Bassett Healthcare by September,” said McGrath.

Nurse & PA staffing
Bassett is expected to provide the facility with a physician and a nurse practitioner. At full capacity, McGrath expects that as many as 40 to 45 patients can be seen in a day. O’Connor Hospital is part of the Bassett Healthcare Network.

The location for the new 2,800 square-foot facility has already been selected. It is near Ballantine Park. According to McGrath, the approximately 1.7-acre property is “kitty corner” from the Andes Post Office.

“The property is under contract,” wrote McGrath in an e-mail. “The owner is Shayne Moshier,” he added.

Designed to blend inNeighborhood issues
“Some (members of the board) have reservations, because it would change the character of the area in that stretch, but it was zoned for that kind of use,” said Winkler. 
As for flood mitigation, Winkler said there are ways to approach the problem.

“You can raise the building two or three feet,” he said. “We want to make sure that when you raise the building, that you’re not just pushing the flood waters onto the neighbor’s property,” Winkler added.

O’Connor Hospital has hired Delta Engineers in Delhi to look into ways to reduce the risk of flooding. The engineering firm is expected to present its findings at next month’s planning board meeting. McGrath explained that he is very aware of the concerns of neighbors.

“We are good neighbors and we look forward to getting there,” he said.
As for Winkler, he is looking forward to the next presentation. “People should be aware that there’s unanimous support for a medical facility like this one in our community, but we just don’t want to impact any of the neighbors in relation to flooding,” he said.

The Andes Planning Board is scheduled to hold its next meeting on Monday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m. at town hall.