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The growing needs of health care

- Last modified: January 22, 2014 at 4:06 PM
Workers pour concrete inside the Cetronia Ambulance Corps. building under construction in South Whitehall Township.
Workers pour concrete inside the Cetronia Ambulance Corps. building under construction in South Whitehall Township. - (Photo / )

One of the newest health-related construction projects in the region shows the growing need for community health services as the population ages.

Cetronia Ambulance Corps, a nonprofit community-based emergency medical services provider, reported that not only is it experiencing a significant increase in demand for mutual aid requests but it's also preparing for regional planning commission projections of a 32 percent increase in the age 55 and older population in the Greater Lehigh Valley by the year 2030.

Construction workers from Boyle Construction Management Inc. in South Whitehall Township are making significant progress on a new facility for Cetronia that is looking to meet these needs. The project, called the Joint Administration and Operations Facility, is at the corner of Broadway and Parkway in South Whitehall Township and is looking at a June completion date. Boyle is the construction manager for the project, while L.R. Kimball of Philadelphia and Spillman Farmer Architects of Bethlehem are the architects. Keystone Consulting Engineering Group is lead engineer.

The total construction cost of the 70,000-square foot building is nearly $10 million, according to Christian Donavan, project manager for Boyle Construction. About 30 to 40 workers are on site each day working on the project, which also includes tenant space for the Lehigh County Forensic Medicolegal Center.

The new facility will replace the existing Cetronia Ambulance operations center, built in 1962 down the road on Broadway.

"The building will be sold and hopefully be used as another community service," said Larry Wiersch, CEO of Cetronia Ambulance Corps. "We are going to be diligent in finding the right people to buy the property."

The new site can fit at least 20 ambulances and possibly as many as 30, he added.

"It's designed to meet the growing needs of the Lehigh Valley," Wiersch said. "A significant piece of this building will be an education center."

The "tremendous" effect of health care changes is also increasing the transition to more community health needs for the public, he added.

It will be interesting to see how the evolving needs of health care will continue to dominate the construction industry in the years to come.

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