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Sun., Oct. 4
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Samaritan Summit Village in last phases before March opening


Final construction details are coming together for Samaritan Summit Village, but there’s still much work to be done before the anticipated March 1 opening.

Dale E. Kraybill, vice president of Purcell Construction, Watertown, said the three-floor, 120-bed assisted-living side is complete, loose ends are being finished in the commons area and the four-floor, 168-bed skilled-nursing side has about one week’s worth of construction left.

“It’s final pieces of wood trim, hanging the last few doors, putting in window screens, and putting in the fire system and communication piece is probably the biggest yet,” Mr. Kraybill said.

The 17.1-acre complex at 22691 Summit Drive is a joint construction venture between Purcell and Lecesse Construction, West Henrietta. Bernier, Carr & Associates, Watertown, provides oversight of the project, and RLPS Architects, Lancaster, Pa., is the design firm. GYMO, Watertown, is the project engineer.

Pamela S. Beyor, Bernier, Carr chairwoman, said that while construction of the 230,000-square-foot building is substantially complete, there still is a significant amount of work toward getting the building occupied.

“Once furnishings and artwork is installed, then comes mobilization of staff on site,” she said. “The entire month of February is dedicated to that on-board process.”

Samaritan Medical Center spokeswoman Krista A. Kittle said the target date of March 1 depends on state Department of Health certificate approvals.

“We’re looking at the first three days to occupy skilled nursing, and the last day will be assisted living,” Ms. Kittle said.

Transition from Whispering Pines, Mercy Care Center of Northern New York and Samaritan Keep Home, as well as moving some community members who need skilled-nursing or assisted-living services, will happen simultaneously on those days.

While Samaritan will continue to operate Samaritan Keep Home, a 272-bed skilled-nursing facility on the hospital’s Washington Street campus, it will close Mercy as Samaritan Summit Village opens. Samaritan is in receivership of Mercy and oversees it through this transition. Whispering Pines, a Jefferson County-owned nursing home that also will close, is managed by Samaritan.

Ms. Kittle said the transition of residents and patients from those facilities to Samaritan Summit Village would not be possible without the help of hundreds of volunteers from community organizations and nonprofit agencies who are moving people’s belongings and helping to set up their new rooms.

“It’ll make it as seamless to residents as possible,” Ms. Kittle said.

Each new resident or patient also must have a clinical assessment within 90 days of being moved to Samaritan Summit Village, to help determine the appropriate level of care needed.

When the facility opens, Ms. Kittle said, the assisted-living component will be 67 percent full and the skilled-nursing component will be 75 percent full.

Throughout the facility, there are warm earth tones on the floors and walls.

“The designers are renowned for elder-care designs,” Ms. Beyor said. “You’ll see few spaces here with a clinical feel.”

The commons area, which connects the assisted-living and skilled-nursing sides, has a cafe, gift shop, reception area, mailboxes for assisted-living residents, a living area with fireplace, a meditation room and chapel, a physician’s suite, an employee break room, general office space, a beauty salon, a morgue and a private dining area with a bar that people may reserve for small parties. A large multipurpose room with a small stage may be used for Samaritan or community events.

In the assisted-living wings, open nursing stations have been replaced by enclosed offices. While the majority of the facility has studio apartments, there are some one-bedroom suites with a small living space. Each floor has a shared dining space that overlooks a fenced-in courtyard, complete with benches and a gazebo.

While one central kitchen prepares food for both skilled-nursing and assisted-living wings, each assisted-living floor has smaller kitchens where residents can use appliances with supervision.

The skilled-nursing wings feature private and semi-private rooms with a shared bathroom. All bathrooms have European-style showers, where there is no tub to step into, creating a completely open and accessible area. Skilled-nursing rooms also will be equipped with hospital beds and locked medicine cabinets, so staff members do not have to travel with a large medicine cart.

Activity rooms and common living spaces, among other features, are on each skilled-nursing floor.

The complex will have 312 employees once it is at full resident and patient capacity. As of Wednesday, 200 people had been hired.

Mercy Administrator Dennis A. Casey has been hired as interim administrator of the skilled-nursing beds until a full-time administrator is hired. Anna M. Patterson, Whispering Pines director, has been hired as administrator for assisted living.

Dr. Collins F. Kellogg, a Watertown internist who has been in a contractual agreement with Samaritan to provide medical care for residents at Mercy since 2011, has been named medical director of the facility.

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