April 17, 2014

Elyria
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Hospital planned in Elyria


CHP will build facility near Ireland Cancer Center

ELYRIA — A new medical facility, tentatively called St. Mary’s Community Hospital, likely will be built next to the Ireland Cancer Center on Schadden Road, but what role it will play in the area’s health care network isn’t being disclosed, hospital officials said Tuesday.

The facility, which is not expected to begin construction for at least two years, is in the conceptual stages, said Patrick Crowley, spokesman for Community Health Partners, which owns CHP Regional Medical Center on Kolbe Road in Lorain.

Crowley would not discuss what services the hospital will offer or how many people it will employ. But he acknowledged that the hospital had told its staff about the plans in an e-mail distributed last week.

The hospital owns about 25 acres in the area — including 11 acres on which the cancer center campus sits. In recent years, the hospital has bought up land around it on Schadden Road and Keep Court, spending some $5 million since 2004.

In one case, the hospital paid $1.99 million for 3.95 acres —  the purchase of which sparked a battle with Elyria Schools, which argued it was not getting its due from the land’s taxable value based on the purchase price.

It certainly hasn’t been a secret that Community Health Partners has looked to the Elyria location — with ready highway access since its sits near Interstate 90, state Route 2, state Route 57 and the Ohio Turnpike — as part of its future.

In July 2006, CHP Senior Vice President Karen Yacobucci told county officials that the site would be accessible to 425,000 people within a 15-minute travel distance. Her remarks, made at a Board of Revision meeting, also included telling board members that the facility could serve residents in Cuyahoga, Lorain, Medina and other counties.

About a year before that presentation, the hospital announced it would spend $30 million to construct an 85,000-square-foot expansion to the Ireland Cancer Center as well as building a new facility in North Ridgeville.

Those plans never got going, however, and a hospital spokeswoman said in July 2007 that a change in hospital leadership, coupled with the hospital’s continuing financial troubles, shifted its priorities.

Crowley would not say whether the early plans call for moving the Northern Ohio Imaging Center on Griswold Road to the site, as was insinuated in the e-mail to employees.

“There’s nothing definite at this point,” he said. “We’re looking at all possibilities. The drawing board is blank. It’s impossible to speculate."

Contact Jason Hawk at 653-6264 or jhawk@chroniclet.com.