NHS to build health center


By Lynn R. Parks


Nanticoke Health Services will soon begin construction on a women's health center. According to spokeswoman Renee Morris, the facility will be located at the new Nanticoke Mears Health Center at the intersection of alternate US 13 and Herring Run Road. The property on which the center will be built is part of a 108-acre farm purchased by Ray and Frances Mears in 1942. The hospital purchased 12 acres of the farm from Frances Mears and her sons, Rex and Bill, for an undisclosed amount. The Mears family will continue to farm the remaining 96 acres. The hospital has requested that the property be annexed by the city of Seaford and be zoned for health care. It is currently zoned for farming. The annexation process will take between 90 to 120 days, Morris said; construction will not begin until that process is complete. The purchase includes the 100-year-old, 4,000-square foot home in which Bill Mears still lives. Morris said that the hospi- tal has not yet determined what it will dowith the house. Mears said that he and his wife Robin will continuing living in the house for now. "We will be moving at some point in time," he added. "That is a little bit emotional, but it is for a good cause." That does not mean that it will be easy for him to see the house, in which he grew up and to which he returned to live in 1976 after going to college, torn down. "If and when that happens, I'll be out of the area," he said. Both Rex and Bill Mears said that the medical center is something of which their father, who died in 1994, would be very proud. The elder Mears was one of the first contributors to the hospital, Bill Mears said, and felt that it was an important part of the community.

That does not mean that it will be easy for him to see the house, in which he grew up and to which he returned to live in 1976 after going to college, torn down. "If and when that happens, I'll be out of the area," he said. Both Rex and Bill Mears said that the medical center is something of which their father, who died in 1994, would be very proud. The elder Mears was one of the first contributors to the hospital, Bill Mears said, and felt that it was an important part of the community. Morris said that the health center will be completed in two phases. The first building will house the women's center and an out-patient radiology center. Anticipated completion date is spring 2002. The building is still being designed, Morris said. It has not yet been determined how big it will be. Anticipated construction cost was not available. A surgery center is also planned for the site. No time has been set for its construction. Morris said that the property can accommodate up to 10 buildings. "This has been in the planning stages for quite a while," she said. "A hospital can be an intimidating place and we want to create someplace where women can go and feel more at ease." Offering services at places other than the main campus will help ease the hospital's tight parking situation, she added. Services that will be offered at the women's center include nutritional classes for pregnant women and midwifery. These will be moved from the Nanticoke Maternity Center at High and Front streets. Morris said that the hospital has not yet decided how it will use that building, which it owns. She said that the new facility will be designed to have a calming effect on patients and family. "This will be a park-like setting," she added. "There will be lots of green spaces. It will be a soothing place."

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