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Franklin signs off on plans for St. Luke’s Carbon Campus

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    From left, Franklin Township Supervisors Chairman Jason Frey, and Supervisors Barbara Beltz and Robin Cressley on Tuesday sign the St. Luke’s land development improvements agreement for the new St. Luke’s Carbon Campus. TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS

Published November 13. 2019 01:24PM

 

Franklin Township has signed off on plans for a future $80 million St. Luke’s Carbon Campus to be located on more than 100 acres at the intersection of Fairyland and Harrity roads.

Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved the St. Luke’s land development improvements agreement; as well as the St. Luke’s stormwater facilities maintenance agreement and covenant.

Additionally, supervisors approved the deed of dedication (conveyance to a public entity for a public use as a roadway (Reber Street), and is therefore exempt from Pennsylvania Realty Transfer Taxes).

Last month, St. Luke’s University Health Network held a groundbreaking ceremony under a tent at the site of the future campus.

In August, supervisors approved a developer’s agreement to allow St. Luke’s to begin construction as the health network worked to finalize several agreements with outside agencies.

At that time, St. Luke’s said it was still working with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, PPL and the Lehighton Water Authority for utilities and the project’s driveway along Route 209.

The agreement says that the township will let St. Luke’s begin construction, but St. Luke’s can’t open the hospital until those agreements are in place. The supervisors previously approved plans for the project in January.

St. Luke’s Senior Vice President Bob Martin said at that time that St. Luke’s negotiated the agreement so they could begin construction while working out the complicated contracts with the three agencies. He said the health network was confident those deals would be completed, and they didn’t want to delay construction in the meantime.

The agreement also includes a $100,000 donation for the township to use for road projects.

One of the items needed before the project is completed is approval for a permit from Lehighton Water Authority for a three-quarter mile extension to its water line along Fairyland Road. Martin said that will be built by the authority while construction on the hospital is underway.

He said the township was in the process of approving it, but was in the process of contacting neighbors who will be allowed to hook up to the water supply if they want to.

Another is a highway occupancy permit from PennDOT. The final condition is an agreement with PPL regarding power lines on the property.

St. Luke’s had to provide the township with a letter of credit worth millions of dollars.

In the event that the hospital abandons the project, the township could use that money to finish building the drainage basins for the project’s stormwater management.

At its peak, construction of the Carbon Campus will employ over 200 construction workers through dozens of contractors.

Once completed, the hospital will provide area residents local access to a range of specialty services in a full-service, three-story, 155,000-square-foot hospital.

The St. Luke’s Carbon Campus will be equipped with 80 beds, 20 emergency department exam rooms, three operating rooms and two OR procedure rooms. Specialty services will include trauma, cardiology, neurology and radiology, among others.

Supervisors last year changed the township’s zoning to allow health care facilities on properties of at least 30 acres.

St. Luke’s hopes to open the facility in 2021.

Work on the new campus begins as St. Luke’s enters the final stages of construction on two other new hospitals and a new hospital wing. The St. Luke’s Upper Bucks Campus outside Quakertown, the Geisinger St. Luke’s Hospital in Orwigsburg, Schuylkill County, and the Women and Babies Pavilion at the Anderson Campus in Bethlehem Township, are on schedule to open this fall and winter.

 

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