New Search Set For Metro Surgical Unit

September 3, 2007
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PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP — Metro Health is backing away from an East Beltline Avenue location for a planned ambulatory surgical center.“It’s not that we’re changing our strategy,” spokesman Jim Childress said. “We still want to build the surgical center on the northeast side. It’s just that the site that was picked for it isn’t going to work out now.”

Childress said the nonprofit hospital is concerned about an old landfill near the site, which is the same worry that prompted Kent County to back away from plans to build a new courthouse for the 63rd District in the same area.

While the hospital had not submitted any plans to Plainfield Township, Bill Fischer, the township’s community development director, said in July that the surgical center was being planned for a site north of the proposed courthouse, near Four Mile Road NE.

Metro Health has withdrawn its Certificate of Need letter of intent for the surgical center. Childress said it’s uncertain when a new location will be chosen.

A hospital statement said Metro Health would like to place the center on the northeast side to provide an outpatient surgical option for patients who live the farthest away from the new hospital in Wyoming, which is to open on Sept. 30. Nearly 80 percent of Metro Health’s 12,876 surgeries were outpatient procedures in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2006, according to the hospital’s Web site.

Original plans called for a 17,567-square-foot, $8.6 million ambulatory surgical building with three operating rooms, a “procedural room” and doctors’ offices.

Kent County Administrator Daryl Delabbio said, “We had some minimal environmental concerns” about the site and the possibility of methane gas migrating from the former landfill. The proposed courthouse site was not part of the landfill, but close enough to make methane a concern, he said.

“A lot of it was contingent upon the willingness of (landfill owner) Waste Management to put in a system to mitigate any methane that might come from the property,” he said. And while the county also was willing to consider constructing safeguards into the building, Delabbio said a committee of commissioners decided to look for another site instead.

The county is now considering property owned by Grand Rapids Township, near the township hall on East Beltline Avenue NE, Delabbio said. The new building will consolidate two 63rd District courthouses, in Rockford and Cascade Township, into a single location.    

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