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Pictured at the SurgiCenter groundbreaking: Mary McDermott, Phelps Chief Nursing Officer; Kathleen Scherf, Nursing Director of Surgical  Services; Louis Wachtel, Board member; Keith Safian, Phelps President and CEO; Richard Peress, MD, Director of Surgery; Richard Sinni, Board Chair; Russell Watson, Board member; George Gatullo, Director of Engineering; and Kerry Pisano, Vice President of Facilities.

Ground was broken recently on a 20,163-square-foot surgical suite to be built on the Phelps campus on the third floor of the 755 Medical Services Building.

“Building this new surgical suite is a huge step forward for Phelps,” said Richard Sinni, chairman of the hospital’s board. “We are very excited to be able to meet the growing needs of the community in this significant way.”

The suite, called the SurgiCenter, is unique in New York State in that it will be the first surgical facility to be located in a medical office building. It will function as a self-contained surgical unit for both inpatients and outpatients. A 200-foot-long x 9-foot-wide enclosed corridor bridge will connect the new surgical area to the surgical wing of the main hospital building.

“What we’ll have at Phelps is a state-of-the-art surgical facility, designed for tomorrow’s technology,” said Keith Safian, Phelps president and CEO. “The spacious operating rooms will accommodate new, larger equipment and will provide a comfortable environment for our patients and surgical staff.”

“This is really a bridge to the future,” said Dr. Richard Peress, a specialist in spine surgery and participant with thoracic surgeon Dr. Avraham Merav on the Board’s Facilities Master Planning Task Force. “We expect the planning we have done today to produce a facility so modern that it will meet our needs for decades to come.”

Dr. Peress noted that a number of surgeons and staff were consulted about the design and capabilities of the new suite, so that the end result will reflect many people’s visions about how to create the best possible environment for patients, providers and changing technology. “We’ll be equipped to accommodate a full range of major surgeries, as well as minor procedures,” he said. “And we’ll be wired to handle robotic surgery when necessary.”

The estimated opening date for the new SurgiCenter is October 2014.

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