By JOE SPAULDING
Recent storms throughout the Midwest have had an effect on the building progress of the new rehabilitation unit being constructed at Woodcrest by the Adams Health Network (AHN), it was learned Wednesday night at the monthly meeting of the AHN board of trustees.
AHN Environmental Services Director Nick Nelson told trustees that work has gone as far as it can but has been delayed since the American Electric Power (AEP) company had to pull the rehab project off its schedule last week because area crews were diverted to other areas to assist with restoration of electrical service caused by storm outages.
Nelson said he was told AEP workers are going overtime this week to attempt to get caught up, but the hospital work is not on the AEP agenda until the week of July 25.
With the delay earlier this spring and summer with rainy conditions and now the AEP setback, AHN officials said it is anticipated the new rehab facility will open in November.
The new rehabilitation center is being constructed on the site of the former "B" wing of the Woodcrest Retirement Center. Once completed, the Extended Care Unit of the hospital will be moved to that location.
Nelson said a perimeter road has been roughed in to the site and is awaiting an asphalt surface. Part of the "B" wing, which formerly housed a 20-bed unit for special care patients such as those with Alzheimer's, has been torn out and some renovation work has begun.
The Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) has moved natural gas lines in the area and, Nelson said, a required drainage study was also recently completed by the Engineering Resources Company. That firm noted as a result of the study it may be necessary for AHN to add two detention ponds to handle excess runoff of water created by the project.
If those ponds are necessary, Nelson said the cost would be about $85,000.
Trustees also received updates on the construction of the new doctor's building adjacent to the hospital and the fountain/circle drive work recently done.
Nelson said the doctor's building, which will initially house the practices of Dr. Crystal Jencks and Dr. Jessamine Hippensteel, the two newest physicians to Adams County, is now under roof and masonry work has begun. The canopy over the front is nearly completed and a September 2 completion date is anticipated for the building.
Dr. Jencks is currently seeing patients in the six-suite Physician's Office Building on High Street while Dr. Hippensteel's practice will begin in early August.
Nelson said only the section of the Decatur Family Practice, which is a branch of the Adams Health Network, will be finished initially, and the other part of the building, which includes space for a new general surgeon, should be completed later this year.
New Chief Executive Officer Tom Nordwick told trustees he thought the new fountain brings a nice "aesthetic viewpoint" to the facility and he commended AHN officials for raising the money for the fountain and circle drive from private sources "and not having to using hospital operating funds."
Nordwick and Nelson both stressed the additional four feet of road space which now allows two cars to easily pass each other and lowering the slope of the sidewalks to grade has made it much easier for drivers and pedestrians to negotiate the area.
The area is now also ADA compliant with the addition of transition strips put in for people who are visually impaired.
"We went above and beyond what the code required us to do. but what we did was the right thing to do," Nordwick added.
The fountain project now has an added degree of security against vandalism with the hospital installing a camera aimed 24/7 at the area which is streamed into the hospital's web and camera system.