By Bailey Kozalla, staff writer
Over a decade ago, Meadville Medical Center purchased the 54 acre lot adjacent to Kmart in Meadville off routes 322 and 19. The basic idea was to construct a new hospital to bring an abundance of jobs, healthcare, and retail to Crawford County. The official name of the new hospital is Vernon Place, as it is located in Vernon township. Currently, Vernon Place is in its first phase of construction. MMC CEO Phillip Pandolph said, “This new strategy focuses not only on improved patient and family healthcare experiences, but also extends to better
outcomes that can be achieved in a more affordable manner.”
The project will be completed in three phases. Phase one focuses on developing an outpatient facility in the Meadville community, phase two will create walking trails on the property, and phase three is currently a work in progress. Everything will be “…tailored to tenant needs,” said Don Rhoten, hospital Vice President of Community Engagement.
Meadville Medical Center will be moving sports medicine, physical, occupational and speech therapy, occupational medicine, women’s diagnostic services and radiology technology including x-ray, ultrasound, and MRI to Vernon Place. It will also include Orthopedic Associates of Meadville and the Meadville Area Family YMCA (Vernon Branch).
The Vernon YMCA will occupy 20,000 of the 87,000 square feet of the new facility. A gym, racquetball court, aerobics studio, locker rooms, and weight training facilities will be located on the ground floor. The second floor will be held for the Orthopedic Associates of Meadville.
Throughout the Vernon Place project, 992 jobs were created. As a result, the statewide economic impact is estimated between $117.9 million and $130.5 million according to the Vernon Place website, vernonplace.mmchs.org.
Meadville Medical Center also wants to utilize the remaining acreage of the lot to not only provide patient services, but also community services. Restaurants, shops, a long-term stay hotel, walking trails, and outdoor public areas are all under consideration as well. “It’s not just a medical facility. It’s a community facility,” said Anne White of the Vernon Place committee.
Journalism Adviser, Saegertown Jr. Sr. High School