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HCP EXECUTIVE TALK: Scholefield discusses repurposing MVHS facilities

By Eric Reinhardt

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The St. Luke’s campus of the Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) in Utica is part of an upcoming study that CHA, an Albany–based engineering-consulting firm, will conduct. The study will determine the “potential repurposing” of current MVHS facilities as the organization develops a new, $480 million hospital campus in downtown Utica. (Photo credit: Mohawk Valley Health System website)

UTICA, N.Y. — The firms that are working on an evaluation of the “potential repurposing” of the current MVHS facilities have started their work.

The Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) and the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties selected CHA Consulting, Inc. to lead the effort.

CHA is an Albany–based engineering-consulting firm that has an office in Syracuse. CHA is working with Alicia & Crewell Architects, P.C. of New Hartford on the study, says Robert Scholefield, VP of facilities and real estate at MVHS, who spoke with BJNN on April 11. Their work started in March, he notes.

The repurposing project will look at the potential reuse of the three main MVHS campuses — which include St. Luke’s, St. Elizabeth, and Faxton — as MVHS develops a new, $480 million downtown Utica hospital, the organization announced on Feb. 22.

Scholefield

MVHS on April 10 said it appointed Scholefield as executive VP of facilities and real estate. He had been serving as COO and will continue in that role until MVHS finds a successor, he tells BJNN.

In this new role, Scholefield is responsible for overseeing the construction of the new downtown Utica hospital. At the same time, Mohawk Valley Health System has committed to finding new uses for the existing campuses, says Scholefield.

“We’ve agreed that we will do whatever we can do to create a repurposing plan and work to sell those properties so they’re not left behind abandoned,” he adds.

The work on the study will continue over a six-month period.

The firms will conduct a combination of building evaluations, local real-estate evaluations, and assess market needs for the properties.

They’ll also work with local community members, including “neighbors [of] the facility, business owners, and local elected [officials] to get their input on what they believe is the best repurpose for the buildings,” says Scholefield.

Based on prior assessments, MVHS has indicated the Faxton campus will likely remain open. It provides services that include cancer treatment and outpatient rehabilitation.

MVHS noted that it will include Faxton in the study to “ensure that keeping it open best meets the needs of MVHS and the community.”

CHA’s scope of services for the study involves five “broad” components for the three MVHS campuses. They include market research and analysis; zoning analysis; hazardous-material assessment; preliminary conditions assessment; and redevelopment-scenario analysis.

Incorporating these components into the repurposing project will help MVHS develop a plan for the facilities that “fits in” with the long-term development plans of the surrounding municipalities and allows the facilities to become “positive economic contributors to the area,” the organization said.

Joseph Wicks, special projects manager at the Community Foundation, said, “This study is critical to identifying the best opportunities for reusing those properties and enhancing their neighborhoods. We look forward to supporting this effort and engaging with community residents and other partners, throughout the course of the study and beyond.”

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com

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