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Lewis County hospital to save on dialysis project

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LOWVILLE — Even with a couple of add-ons, Lewis County General Hospital’s dialysis project has come in slightly under budget.

“You got great, great bidding on this project,” Rick W. Tague, president of Bernier, Carr & Associates, Watertown, said Thursday at a meeting of the county-owned hospital board’s Buildings and Grounds Committee.

Committee members endorsed four contracts totaling $1.47 million, contingent on the contractors providing proof of bond insurance. Designers had budgeted $1.49 million for the construction portion of the $1.7 million project.

The plan is to get approval from the board of managers Wednesday morning, allowing the project to proceed as quickly as possible. Construction is expected to start this month and run through the end of the year, with an opening planned by March.

While material costs have risen in the four years since design work on the dialysis addition started, this appears to have been a fortuitous time to go out to bid, given a relative lack of projects over prior years, Mr. Tague said.

“You got good competition on the project,” he said.

The hospital received 35 bids on the four available contracts.

Since the bid opening April 24, Bernier, Carr officials have affirmed the low bidders, all of which have worked with the firm in the past, were comfortable with their bids.

Contracts are to be awarded to Northern Tier Contracting, Gouverneur, at $1,175,300 for general construction; Lawman Heating & Cooling, Sackets Harbor, at $102,100 for mechanical and $56,100 for plumbing; and Watson Electric, Norwood, at $141,400 for electrical.

Those bid amounts include an extra $94,300 to install a new generator and improve stormwater drainage at the site. That work was bid out as two alternates, but committee members decided to include both in the final project.

While the hospital has three generator units, a power outage during the summer — when air conditioning is in heavy use — would likely require shutting down some systems until service is restored, said Thomas W. Ferguson Sr., the hospital’s director of facilities management.

Adding a 260-kilowatt generator to the mix should alleviate any such issues, he said.

“This is the time to do it,” Mr. Ferguson said.

A hydrological study by Bernier, Carr also indicated stormwater drainage in the addition’s vicinity may be lacking, even though there haven’t been any visible problems yet, he said.

The plan is to run an 8-inch drainage pipe next to an existing 18-inch pipe to offer extra capacity, Mr. Ferguson said.

“It’s going to be open,” he said. “There is no cheaper time to do it.”

A 7,200-square-foot addition is slated to be built off the west side of the Medical Arts Building’s first floor and basement to accommodate the dialysis center. After it’s built, the hospital would turn it over to DaVita Inc., which would do more than $200,000 worth of additional interior finish work, then operate the center under a 10-year lease agreement.

The project is to be funded primarily by a $904,837 state Department of Health commissioner’s discretionary grant, a $300,000 Empire State Development grant and roughly $100,000 from the Lewis County Hospital Foundation collected through various fundraisers.

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