Stenger details plan for new NEK health center - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Stenger details plan for new NEK health center

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JAY, Vt. -

It's that time of year at Jay Peak resort when everything in the area has an orange glow to it. Beneath the fall foliage-- $70 million worth of construction projects.

"Probably 250 construction workers on property today," said Bill Stenger, the president of Jay Peak.

Five construction projects are currently underway at the Northeast Kingdom site. As part of the $500 million initiative announced last week, Stenger hopes to build a new medical facility to serve the Jay community.

"We're under served now technically, so our local hospitals realize that and are eager to be supportive," Stenger said.

Stenger also serves on the board of the North Country Hospital, the nearest hospital to the resort.

"It's 20 minutes at least from here, more like a half an hour," he said.

The plan is to break ground here next spring on the medical facility. The access road will also be extended, connecting the resort to the surrounding communities.

"I see sometimes up to 4-5 ambulances a day going up to the mountain," Kristy Meyer said.

Meyer currently works at the Jay Country Store a few miles from the resort while she finishes nursing school. She's hoping the new facility could mean a job for her.

"Hopefully I could be an RN and help people I really want to help people in the medical field," she said.

Stenger wants to staff two-three medical professionals to start with. He hopes to emphasize orthopedic care. The facility recently became the target of partisan politics. Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock suggested it would be a prime location for medical tourism, a concept that invites out-of-staters to the resort to rehabilitate from injury or surgery.

"It's not a priority because we don't feel this facility will have the componentry that would be needed for something like that," Stenger said.

While it's not a priority for Stenger, he says the idea isn't completely off the project list in years to come.

Stenger plans to apply for a certificate of need with the state in the coming weeks. He expects few snags on the permitting side of things as it's resort-owned land designated for commercial projects.

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