St. Luke’s to break ground in fall
Bob Martin, Senior Vice President, St. Luke’s University Health Network, gives an update to Franklin Township supervisors on Tuesday concerning the progress made regarding the St. Luke’s Blue Mountain Hospital Land Development Plan. Visit www.tnonline.com for a video. TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS
Groundbreaking for a new hospital to be located in Franklin Township could take place in September.
Representatives from St. Luke’s University Health Network updated supervisors on Tuesday about the hospital’s land development plan.
Bob Martin, senior vice president for St. Luke’s University Health Network, told supervisors he’s pleased with the progress that’s been made for the hospital that will be located off Harrity Road.
“I’m very enthusiastic about where we are,” Martin said. “We are very anxious to get started with the hospital this year.”
Martin said St. Luke’s plans to install a new water line that will begin at the former Franklin Elementary School and run all along Fairyland Road to the intersection of Fairyland and Harrity.
He said it would be optional for residents to hook up to the line.
Martin said it will cost St. Luke’s $2 million to run the water line to the hospital, which would be at no cost to the taxpayers.
He added that they also plan to add six fire hydrants.
Township secretary Brenda Neeb said that residents that live within 780 feet of a hydrant will be included in the fire hydrant tax of 0.8 mills.
Neeb said the township needs to charge a tax because it has to pay Lehighton borough a monthly fee per each hydrant located in the township.
Martin said St. Luke’s is awaiting receipt of a highway occupancy permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
Supervisors were then asked to consider passing a resolution regarding the traffic signal at Route 209 and Harrity Road concerning the timing of the signal.
St. Luke’s has to complete an application for traffic signal approval, and the resolution needs to accompany the application.
The board adopted the resolution pending approval by township engineer Greg Haas.
Martin said the goal is to hold a groundbreaking ceremony by September or October.
He said the goal is to open the hospital in 2021.
Martin said that St. Luke’s purchased an additional 20 acres near where it plans to build the hospital in Franklin.
Sam Kennedy, corporate communications director for St. Luke’s, said they acquired the land, “because it was contiguous to the property we already owned.”
No plans to develop that property have been announced.
The parcel was sold by Joshua 241324 Properties LLC, to Blue Mountain Hospital, Allentown, at a cost of $2.02 million.
The hospital will stand three stories high and include a 22-bed emergency department. It has the capacity for 80 inpatient beds.
In January, supervisors unanimously voted to grant conditional approval to the St. Luke’s Hospital — Blue Mountain preliminary/final subdivision and land development plans, with several contingencies attached.
St. Luke’s University Health Network in the spring of 2018 acquired more than 86 acres of land to build the hospital on Harrity Road.
The new hospital will be 50 feet tall and encompass 130,000 square feet on a more than 75-acre lot.
It will begin with 40 bedrooms and eventually have 80. St. Luke’s expects to employ 200 people at the new facility to start. The lot will have 535 parking spots.
It will also include an emergency room and helipad to airlift trauma patients when necessary to its main hospital in Bethlehem.
The plans include widening Harrity Road to include a left-hand turning lane.