Walls rising on Hospice project

KEARNEYSVILLE — Hospice of the Panhandle’s “Building the Dream” construction project is well underway, with site and road work about 85 percent complete and the general contractors now on site.

Hospice, a 33-year-old nonprofit that cares for seriously ill residents in the four-county area, is constructing two buildings on 17 acres at the Berkeley-Jefferson county border. One of the buildings is a 14-bed inpatient unit, designed for short-term stays for symptom management; the other is an office to house home care and administrative staff.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with our progress,” said Hospice owner’s project representative Bill Cornett. “The contractors are doing an excellent job.”

Hospice of the Panhandle has raised more than $3.5 million as part of the 14bed inpatient unit and administrative office it is constructing in Kearneysville. The project is expected to be complete next year.

Hospice of the Panhandle has raised more than $3.5 million as part of the 14bed
inpatient unit and administrative office it is constructing in Kearneysville.
The project is expected to be complete next year.

Building the office is W. Harley Miller Contractors, while the inpatient unit is being constructed by Callas Contracting.

In March, contractors for both buildings built the perimeter foundation walls, poured column footers and installed the underground plumbing, mechanical and electrical piping and conduit. Steel columns and beams have been delivered for the office building. Contractors also have power on site, thanks to the work of First Energy and telephone cabling and fiber pull tubing roughed in thanks to Frontier Communications.

   “There’s been a lot of activity, that’s for sure,” Cornett said. “At a recent contractors’ meeting at the work site, the firm representatives seemed happy with how things are going as well.”

Work on the buildings is expected to be complete the first quarter of 2014 with a move planned shortly thereafter.

“It’s exciting to drive by and see all the work that’s being done,” said Hospice inpatient facility chair Barbara Pichot. “It becomes more and more real every day, and we can see definite progress.”

Hospice has raised more than $3.5 million from hundreds of individual and corporate donors. The agency now embarks on the community phase of the campaign, reaching out to others in the community who haven’t yet made a gift or pledge to the campaign.

Total cost of the project is $11.6 million. Recent gifts in early 2013 include a $25,000 commitment from the BB&T Foundation and $11,500 from the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation’s Berkeley County Industrial Park Development Fund.

Hospice board member G.T. Schramm said every dollar raised is a dollar the organization does not have to borrow.

“While the difference between what we’ve raised and what the project costs is significant, people need to realize that we will sell the two current buildings that we own (on Waverly Court) and will realize a tremendous amount of savings from the other two buildings that we rent,” Schramm said. “With that being said, we recognize that there is still work to be done.”

CEO Margaret Cogswell has met with the project’s interior designer to discuss carpet and paint selection, as well as furniture, appliance and medical equipment needs, working to create a homelike setting in the inpatient unit.

“We’re clearly in a place where we’re making many decisions,” Cogswell said. “What strikes me most often, however, is how desperately this community needs the 14-bed unit. There’s not a week that goes by that I don’t hear about a patient who could benefit greatly from this care. So for me, it’s about so much more than the buildings themselves – it’s what Hospice of the Panhandle will be able to do as a result of them.”

For more information about contributing to Hospice’s capital campaign, contact Maria Lorensen at 304-267-1870, ext. 205 or mlorensen@hospiceotp.org or visit Hospice’s website at hospiceotp.org and click on the donation button.

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