Hospice marks start of construction for new in-patient center

KEARNEYSVILLE — The Eastern Panhandle will see something new in Hospice care with the completion next year of a new 14-bed inpatient treatment facility, say organization representatives, who were on site here last week to mark the start of construction on the project.

The new, combined 50,000-square foot facility — a 28,000-square-foot, two-story administrative building for about 100 staff members and a 23,000-square-foot, single-story patient center — will allow Hospice to fulfill a longtime goal — to provide hospital care in a home-like setting for patients and respite care to family members, said Hospice CEO Margaret Cogswell.

The $11.6-million facility being built in Kearneysville will also enable Hospice to provide respite service for caregivers.

In-patient care is currently offered at a number of Hospice centers throughout West Virginia, but this being one of the fastest growing parts of the state, the need to expand services here is already present, said development director, Maria Lorensen.

“People do retire here from Washington D.C. and Baltimore so we recognize the great need that this will have,” she said.

The project, dubbed Building the Dream, and for which Hospice officials staged a groundbreaking ceremony in June, will cost $11.6 million, about $3.3 million of which have already been raised, said Lorensen. Additional funds will be raised through the sale of property.

Hospice was awarded a Certificate of Need by the state Healthcare Authority for the new facility in 2011. Hospice began fundraising efforts for the project in 2009.

While the facility is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2013 with 14 beds, the new building has already been designed to expand to 21 rooms, said architect Robert Eckels, who noted the infrastructure is already being built to accommodate additional patients.

The new center will be especially appealing to patients in Morgan and Hampshire counties who will now be able to stay overnight with patients, Eckels said.

“The focus is not just on the patients, but also on family care. You want to design it for the patients but you also want to design it for their families,” Eckels said, adding care is being given in the construction to minimize the facility’s “institutional” look to make it more home-like for clients. The in-patient building will feature furnished living rooms and a warm-up kitchen, and also include details to distance itself from the look of a hospital.

Excavation and grading for the 19-acre site, which straddles Berkeley and Jefferson counties, have already begun. The new facility will replace the offices Hospice currently run in both counties. The Hampshire County office will continue operating, said Lorensen.

Roadwork and site development is being done by Jefferson Asphalt. W. Harley Miller Contracotrs was selected to construct the office building, while Callas Contractors will build the patient facility.

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