LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWTI) — Ground has been broken on two historic construction projects in Lewis County.

This included Lewis County Health System’s capital campaign and Lewis County’s public infrastructure project that will benefit several county agencies, which will total $50 million.

Specifically, at Lewis County hospital, leaders broke ground on the construction of a 26,000-square-foot surgical pavilion as well as a major renovation project.

The surgical building will include three operating rooms, a procedure room and supporting family rooms for both inpatient and ambulatory surgeries.

Aside from the new building, the project will also renovate and revitalize 17,000 square feet of medical, surgical and ICU units.

Each unit will be equipped with a private room and a private bathroom. Rooms will be renovated to have two headwalls which would allow the hospital to double its capacity to address future surges of healthcare needs in the county.

According to Lewis County Health System CEO Gerald Cayer, this project will support local healthcare access, enhance medical recruitment and retention, modernize and revitalize the physical structure and enhance the sustainability of the Lewis County Health System.

“The hospital is 90 years old, so 90 years ago there were a group of people who came together and envisioned the future,” Cayer told ABC50. “So we really want to continue that legacy. It’s time for us to invest in the operations.”

Sayer added that Lewis County Health System is the largest employer in the county with an economic footprint of $120 million. He said this renovation will contribute to the county’s economic growth.

“The more we keep things local, the more the resources stay in Lewis County,” he expressed.

The second groundbreaking celebrated the beginning of Lewis County’s history-making investment in public enhancements. 

This $20 million project will include the construction of a County highway garage, the complete renovation of Lewis County’s human service building and renovated spaces for the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Lewis County Board of Elections. 

Lewis County Public Manager Ryan Piche said this will help county leaders and agencies continue to provide for their community.

“Lewis County has an amazing history of taking care of our own. We have a great history of making smart investments that lasts a long time,” Piche said. The generation that came before us made smart investments and made sure that we had access to great healthcare and excellent government services here in Lewis County.”

“Today’s investment ensures that that same access is going to be granted to the next generation,” he added.

Construction is expected to be complete on Lewis County Health System’s Capital Campaign in December 2023. The public enhancement project has an expected timeline two and a half years.