Anderson campus to double capacity
At their Sept. 18 meeting, Bethlehem Township Commissioners voted 4-0 to approve an expansion at St. Luke’s 500-acre Anderson campus that will allow the hospital to double its capacity. “Tower Two,” a four-story hospital building nearly identical to the main site, is what St. Luke’s Vice President Ray Miolam calls the next chapter in the development of the Anderson campus. He anticipates the project will be complete in two and one-half years, with construction starting next spring.
Voting yes were Malissa Davis, Mike Hudak, Howard Kutzler and Tom Nolan. Pat Breslin was absent.
To minimize stormwater, St. Luke’s has agreed to “bank” its parking. The proposed paving has been approved, but will only be used when it is needed. In addition, St. Luke’s has agreed to place a gateway monument sign at the intersection of routes 33 and 78, stating “Welcome to Bethlehem Township, Home of St. Luke’s.”
Though President Hudak voted for the project, he warned Miolam and St. Luke’s engineer Scott Pasterski that water flowing downhill from the hospital campus along Hope Road is causing problems. “And now we’re adding another building with a sea of blacktop,” complained Hudak.
Heavy rains have in the past washed out the entrance of the Bethlehem Boat Club, located at the bottom of Hope Road.
Pasterski told Hudak that the basin at the bottom of Hope Road is well under capacity. But Hudak said “millions and millions” of gallons of water flow into an unimproved swale.
Howard Kutzler said the drainage is within the letter of the law. But resident Wayne Kresge, who personally experienced stormwater problems at his home on Chetwin Terrace, said he still experienced heavy flooding after being told that drainage plans for his property were within the letter of the law.
“Very often things look good on paper, but in reality they don’t work,” cautioned Kresge.
Both Pasterski and Miolam agreed to look at the problem during the next rainstorm.
“We’re not looking to flood out anyone’s home,” Miolam said.
In other business, commissioners rejected a $1.3 million contract for the exterior renovation of the Archibald Johnston mansion at Housenick Park. Bracy Contracting was the sole bidder, and its price is nearly twice the $675,000-750,000 estimate. This may be because many items were added during the bidding process, like alterations to the elevator shaft and removal of lead-based paint.
Work on this mansion has been paid from grants and a $2 million trust fund established by Janet Housenick, Archibald Johnston’s granddaughter. Trustees Bill Leeson, Steve Baratta and Tim Brady advised commissioners in writing that they want to see the exterior stabilization project started by September. “We reserve the right to review and change the annual contribution amounts if the exterior stabilization project is not commenced in earnest and on a continuous basis before September.”
This bid was tabled in August because Commissioner Pat Breslin was absent. But with his absence again, commissioners voted without him.
It will cost the township $4,000 to rebid the project.
Wayne Kresge complained that renovations at the mansion will eventually start costing the township money. “We have a habit of spending money in this township,” he said, noting the cost of the Brodhead Road reconstruction and repairs at the community center. He said even the carports built for police cruisers have failed in their purpose of keeping snow off the cars.