Geisinger buys 32 acres on St. Cyril land for hospitality, behavioral health facilities | News

DANVILLE – Geisinger plans to purchase 32 acres from the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius, including the Mother House and Villas, to build a hospitality motel similar to the Pine Barn Inn, as well as the new inpatient behavioral health facility originally planned was for a site in Valley Township.

Engineer Nicholas Argot of the Wilkes-Barre engineering and architecture firm of Borton Lawson, told the Mahoning/Cooper Townships Joint Planning Commission Monday night that plans to build the behavioral health facility just off Route 54 fell through. He and Allison Ernst, a real estate program manager for Geisinger, said they didn’t know why those plans were changing.

He said Geisinger will own the mother house and villas, but will not demolish them.

“Geisinger, and certainly myself, don’t want those buildings to be torn down,” Argot said.

The planning committee approved the subdivision, but Zoning Officer Dean VonBlohn advised Geisinger to submit a conceptual or sketch plan to show the location of the structures. Township engineer Drew Barton proposed easements after purchasing Geisinger for access to water, sewage, emergencies, and supplies.

The 32 acres Geisinger plans to buy will be subdivided from about 182 acres, Argot said.

“The resident sisters will support the rest,” Argot said.

Of the acreage is 10 to 12 acres in the borough, Zoning Officer Jim Dragano said. The rest of the acreage is in Danville Borough.

VonBlohn suggested planning officials meet with Danville to discuss approvals.

“Danville has waived a decision on the subdivision, but I’ll get a letter to that effect,” Argot said.

He said the closing date is later this month, but he didn’t have a specific date.

Argot said the land development plans would be submitted at a later date.

New entranceThe construction includes improvements to Basilica Lane on the St. Cyril property. The currently closed entrance on Spoorstraat will be used to access the Geisinger buildings. The sisters will continue to use the Academy Avenue entrance, Argot said.

He said the entrance across from Dunkin’ Donuts off Route 11 is a “bad angle” for a main entrance.

Township tax collector Marlene Gunther asked why Geisinger chose the area it did when the sisters owned land along Route 11 in the township. Argot said most of that land is in the floodplain and is “very steep.”

Planning committee member Kathy Mordan asked if Geisinger had any plans for development beyond current plans.

“Not at the moment,” Ernst said.

Geisinger announced in March 2021 that it had entered into a joint venture with Acadia to build two new freestanding behavioral behavioral health facilities – in Valley Township and in Moosic, Lackawanna County.

Construction was set to begin this year on the 96-bed, 73,000-square-foot Montour County facility. Ernst said she wasn’t sure if the facility on the St. Cyril property would be a comparable size.

The partnership plans to consolidate clinical behavioral health programs from Geisinger Medical Center, Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital and Geisinger Community Medical Center into these new facilities, allowing the vacated units to be reused for additional capacity, including expanded private room availability, according to to the announcement.

The facilities meet current and future demand for adult, pediatric, and adolescent patients struggling with acute symptoms of mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Geisinger System Services purchased the 131,349-acre property behind the Red Roof Inn in early 2021 for $5 million from Glenn E. Halterman and Robert W. Snyder, who were doing business as 5480 Partners. The canal extends almost to Route 642 East.

City regulators changed that area’s zoning in 2018 to allow for medical research facilities and business parks after a zoning dispute with Halterman and Snyder.

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