The Medical Center at Princeton changed its name to the University Medical Center at Princeton a little more than a year-and-a-half ago. Since at least that time top administrators of the downtown Princeton hospital have been talking about the possibility that the facility, which opened in 1919, would leave its nine-acre Witherspoon Street location for the wide open spaces of the suburbs.

Now it’s official. The hospital’s board of directors announced at a meeting on Monday, January 24, that the facility will move. No site has yet been announced, but the boundaries are set.

"We are looking at sites within two to six miles of our front door," says Barry Rabner, CEO of Princeton Healthcare, the hospital’s parent. Up to 15 sites had been under consideration, and Rabner is unwilling to absolutely rule any out at this stage, but says that there are four of five serious contenders.

There had been talk of a land swap with Princeton University, which owns hundreds of acres of land in West Windsor, but Rabner says that possibility is no longer viable. The university has told the hospital that it wants to hold onto its land for its own future. But, says Rabner, Princeton has expressed interest in purchasing the hospital’s Witherspoon campus and using it for graduate housing. There has been interest from developers, also.

Willing to enter into a guessing game to some extent, Rabner says that building on Sarnoff land has not been ruled out. He also says that a number of sites near the top of the hospital’s list are in West Windsor.

The prospect pleases West Windsor mayor, Shing-Fu Hsueh. He says he would welcome the hospital in his township. Says the mayor: "We offer a central location with accessibility for emergency vehicles within a few miles of downtown Princeton."

In addition to Sarnoff, potential locations on Route 1 in the township include the old Cyanamid properties on Route 1 north and the currently-undeveloped Carnegie Center North complex on Route 1 south.

Rabner says that, in addition to West Windsor, the hospital has considered sites in Plainsboro, Franklin, and Lawrence. Plainsboro Mayor Peter Cantu is less enthusiastic than his West Windsor counterpart. He says that in order to consider rezoning any property for a new hospital, the township would need a compelling reason. "To date we haven’t heard one," he says. "On the surface, it would be a stretch to understand what the benefits to Plainsboro would be."

Lawrence presents interesting new issues.

The University Medical Center at Princeton, sensitive to possible negative reactions from a community that turned itself inside out to keep its library downtown, has proceeded slowly and carefully to prepare Princeton for the possibility that it would move. Task forces were formed; options were explored; possible alternate locations were scouted. The hospital retained Katz Associates, a Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania firm, to help with strategic planning. It hired Hillier, the Alexander Road architectural firm, to help with facility planning issues. It enlisted the mayors of Princeton Township and Princeton Borough.

While all of this careful – and very public – weighing of options was taking place, Trenton’s Capital Health System (CHS), with two landlocked hospitals of its own, Mercer Medical and Helene Fuld, was quietly plotting its own next move. On Wednesday, January 19, Al Maghazehe, president of CHS, announced that his health care organization is planning to build what he calls a "world class E-Hospital" on 31 prime acres in Lawrence Township. The move would not necessarily mean, however, that its hospitals in Trenton, both of which have been operating for more than a century, would be shuttered, or that services would be cut back.

The news of the new hospital not far from the southern border of Princeton Township came as a complete surprise to the University Medical Center at Princeton. "The first I heard of it was when I read about it in the newspaper," says Rabner.

Is this secrecy unusual? Rabner doesn’t want to comment on that.

Will it affect his hospital’s decision on a new site? No, he says. Princeton has weighed its options carefully, and CHS’s plans will not affect its careful process.

On the day after he laid out his plans for a new suburban facility, and a few days before Princeton’s announcement, Maghazehe’s comment on any move by that hospital was: "They’ve never made a formal announcement. No one knows what they’re doing. We have to take care of ourselves."

Now the formal announcement has been made, and both health care organizations need to obtain approval from the state’s health commissioner to build what they say their patients want. In each case that is an approximately 300-bed hospital with a full complement of departments, the most up-to-date equipment, and the amenities that 21st century patients most want, including private rooms.

CHS’s proposed hospital is being referred to as an "E" facility, he says, because it will be "paperless" and "filmless." He admits that state requirements could mean that paper back-ups will have to be kept, but stresses that having all information in a digital form offers enormous advantages. "Doctors can look at records from anywhere," he gives as an example.

Yes, but is it necessary to build a large new hospital to obtain benefits like these?

Rabner answers this way. "There are now 800 hospitals in the building or planning stages in this country. In the next 10 years $200 billion will be spent on new hospital construction." Many hospitals are aging, he points out, saying that there was a building boom in the 1950s, and that many hospitals now operating, certainly including his own and the hospitals of the Capital Health System, have many more decades under their belts.

Changes in scientific knowledge, in technology, and in patient preferences now demand larger spaces designed specifically for 21st century medical care. Private patient rooms, for example, reflect not only a desire for comfort, but also a greater understanding of how infection spreads. Confidentiality is also an issue.

As for technology: "Operating rooms used to be 300 square feet," says Rabner. "Now we have robotic surgery, and that calls for a 1,000-square-foot operating room."

So, it’s off to the suburbs in search of land. The all-digital hospital’s slice of terra firma is on Princess Road near the spot where major arteries I-95 and I-295 intersect with Route 206 and with Route 1. The site was chosen in part, says Maghazehe, because of its proximity to Bucks County, from which CHS draws a number of patients. Princeton is looking for "at least 50 acres," says Rabner. Each facility is expected to cost between $200 and $250 million, excluding the price of land, and each healthcare organization says that it is confident of raising the money.

All that remains is approval from the state. Maghazehe of CHS says that talks have already begun. Not anticipating any difficulty in obtaining a green light, Maghazehe says, "there’s a process, and we just have to follow it." Approval could take up to six months.

Rabner has had some talks with the state on how to go about the approval process, but has not made an application. The next step at his institution is hiring a hospital consulting firm to confirm the planning the hospital has done and to draw up a detailed business plan. Rabner says that he expects this plan will answer the questions the state is likely to pose.

He says he would like to break ground "next Tuesday," but that it takes between three-and-a-half and five years to build a hospital.

The race is on, for both CHS and the University Medical Center at Princeton. The winners, say both CEOs, will be the healthcare consumers of central New Jersey.

– Kathleen McGinn Spring

Sound Designs

Shen Milsom Wilke, 44 Princeton-Hightstown Road, Suite 21, Princeton Junction 08550. James B. Merrill, partner. 609-716-1900; fax, 609-716-6464. Home page: www.smwinc.com

Shen Milsom Wilke (SMW), an integrated communications technology and acoustic consulting firm, moved into an office on Princeton-Hightstown Road last year. In this office are James Merrill, principal, and James Sanphy, a senior associate. Merrill majored in architectural engineering at Pennsylvania State and specializes in environmental building systems; Sanphy was an electrical engineer at Drexel University.

Among their recent projects are the Pennington School’s Campus Center, designed by Jim Gatsch of Farewell Mills & Gatsch, which has a music theory classroom with computer stations, instrument and vocal practice rooms, and a tiered choral rehearsal room. Using vibration isolation and duct routing to mitigate the noise and vibration from the mechanical systems, SMW designed the acoustics for these spaces.

At the Waxwood, a Hillier project in downtown Princeton, SMW conducted a community noise study, then recommended design procedures to reduce unwanted sound, including strategic positioning of sound barriers. To create comfortable, quiet apartments, it also suggested steps to mitigate noise from the building’s mechanical system.

A future project, the Mill Hill Playhouse in Trenton, is scheduled to be completed next spring. With Michael Schnoering of Farewell Mills Gatsch as project manager, SMW is working to upgrade the current leaky windows to reduce noise intrusion and change the wall finishes to control reverberation. It also dealt with the noise from new ventilation system.

For the Princeton’s Department of Public Safety Communications Center, a Clark Caton Hintz project, Shen Milsom & Wilke has designed the technology for a new Communications Center. Also at the university, for radio station WPRB, the firm designed the acoustics for the new studio and the associated production rooms.

Will Trains Stop in South Brunswick?

Frank Gambatese, mayor of South Brunswick, has a train station on his wish list. He talked about the possibility during his swearing-in speech, on January 2. The news spread, and an opposition group, headed by former mayor Frank Chrinko, soon formed. Opponents, calling themselves Concerned Citizens Against a Rail Station (CCAARS), worry that a train station will create traffic jams in the township.

On the contrary, says Ron Schmalz, public affairs coordinator for the 42-square-mile township. He says that South Brunswick is working with New Jersey Transit to reduce traffic not only within its own borders, but all throughout central New Jersey, and that another train station is key to that effort.

The station, he says, would most likely be located off Route 1 at North Umberland Way, which is about two-and-a-half miles north of Raymond Road in Princeton. It is possible that a transit village could be part of the plan.

NJ Transit sees the station as a hub into which a bus rapid transit system could funnel commuters living in a broad area reaching roughly from Quakerbridge Road at the south to Franklin Park at the north, and over to Monroe to the east.

The station, which would feed into the Northeast Corridor rail line, could be part of a solution to the frustration of trying to find a parking space so that the trip into New York, or Philadelphia, Newark, or New Brunswick can begin. As it is, says Schmalz, the best bet for residents of his township often is to drive to the park and ride lot at Exit 8A of the Turnpike. But that lot, which has 640 spaces and is run by the Department of Transportation, is full. "There’s a waiting line for permits," he says.

When Schmalz began work for South Brunswick, as a police officer, the township’s populations was "10,000 people, if that," he says. By 1990 that number had climbed to the mid-30,000 mark. As of 2000, he says, 42,000 people were calling South Brunswick home.

The township has no current count of the number of its residents who work in New York, the most common destination for central New Jersey rail commuters, but the number is almost certainly climbing.

In an effort to ascertain residents’ thoughts on having a train station within their borders, the township is conducting a survey on its website, www.sbt.net. Those who are opposed might contact CCAARS at 732-297-9447.

Expansions

Films Media Group/Films for the Humanities & Sciences (PRM), 2572 Brunswick Pike, Box 2053, Princeton 08543-2053. Scott Fogarty, president and CEO. 609-671-1000; fax, 609-671-5777. Www.films.com

FFH Group moved from 40,000 feet on Perrine Road in Monmouth Junction in January to 64,000 feet on Route 1 South in Lawrence Commons. Founded in 1959, this 115-person company does videos, DVDs, and multimedia programs for schools, colleges, and libraries in North America. It is owned by Primedia Inc. Announced on January 18: a contract with Recorded Books, a major publisher of unabridged audiobooks, to distribute FMG’s collection of educational media to public libraries in the United States and Canada.

With about 3,000 owned and 10,000 licensed educational titles, among its collections are Films for the Humanities & Sciences, which distributes videos from such producers as Public Affairs Television (Bill Moyers), Discovery Channel, BBC Learning, Home Box Office, CBS News, ABC News, and MacNeil/Lehrer Productions. Under the brands Cambridge Educational, Meridian Education, and Shopware it has life skills materials for from grades 6-12 through adult.

Biovid Corp., 5 Vaughn Drive, Suite 111, Princeton 08540-6313. Andrew D. Aprill, president. 609-750-1400; fax, 609-750-1466. Www.biovid.com

Biovid has added 3,000 feet at 5 Vaughn Drive for a total of 7,500 square feet. It is also opening an office in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. With 23 full-time employees and does pharmaceutical marketing research.

"We are pushing into the patient adherence arena, because we feel that this issue will dominate the industry over the next five to seven years, as the paradigm for the drug discovery process changes," says Andrew Aprill, president.

Herrick, Feinstein LLP, 104 Carnegie Center, Suite 200, Princeton 08540-6232. Colleen Trout, branch office manager. 609-452-3800; fax, 609-520-9095. Home page: www.herrick.com

The law firm is expanding from 6,700 to 10,200 square feet at 210 Carnegie, with a projected move in date of April. Founded in 1928, the company has these concentrations: corporate, workout and bankruptcy, law, litigation, real estate, sports and entertainment, intellectual property and patents, tax, trusts and estates, and publishing law.

Kyowa Pharmaceutical Inc. (KYKOF), 212 Carnegie Center, Suite 101, Princeton 08540. Kazuyoshi Tachibana, president. 609-919-1100; fax, 609-919-1111. Www.kyowa-kpi.com

Kyowa, which provides ingredients to pharmaceutical companies, is expanding by nearly 50 percent in an additional building, 210 Carnegie Center, to make room for development, marketing, and the medical affairs area, and also for a sister company named Biowa, says spokesperson Joe Brindisi. Peter Dodds of Garibaldi, Morford & Dodds represented Kyowa, and Kyowa now has 33,000 feet.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, 502 Carnegie Center, Suite 301, Princeton 08540-6273. Robert Alan White, managing partner. 609-919-6600; fax, 609-919-6639. Home page: www.morganlewis.com

The international law firm has added 13,600 square feet to its 40,000 feet at the Carnegie Center, a sublet from the Bank of America. It has these focuses: business and finance (with emphasis on emerging technology and life sciences companies), labor and employment, litigation, and patent law.

Nassau Broadcasting Partners LP, 619 Alexander Road, Box 1350, Princeton 08540. Louis F. Mercatanti, CEO. 609-419-0300; fax, 609-419-0143. Home page: www.nbplp.com

Just after buying its first station in Maryland, the Alexander Road-based broadcasting company bought two more stations, both in Hagerstown, Maryland. Now it owns 50 radio stations in six states.

Radpharm, 103 Carnegie Center, Suite 300 A, Princeton 08540. Donald Rosen MD, chief technological officer. 609-936-2600; fax, 609-936-2602. Home page: www.radpharm.com

Radpharm has added 18,000 square feet for a total of 33,000 feet. A sister company to Princeton Radiology Associates, the company offers clinical trial services for medical imaging.

Jeffrey J. Schrader CPA PC, 4573 South Broad Street, Yardville Towne Square, Suite 100, Trenton 08620. Anita Oliver, office manager. 609-581-5533; fax, 609-581-5535.

Jeffrey J. Schrader moved his CPA practice from 2129 Route 33 in Lexington Square to a renovated historic building in Yardville. Phone and fax are new. Schrader recently earned his MS in Taxation at Philadelphia University. He does financial planning, tax planning and general accounting services.

Integra LifeSciences (IART), 311E Enterprise Drive, Plainsboro 08536. Stuart M. Essig, president/CEO. 609-936-3600; fax, 609-799-3297. Home page: www.integra-ls.com

Integra LifeSciences bought a group of companies in Lyon, France for about $53 million. This group, known as Newdeal, makes specialty implants and instruments for foot and ankle surgery. It will keep its name and stay in Lyon.

Integra develops and sells medical devices, implants and biologic materials used to treat spinal, cranial and orthopedic disorders, and to repair damaged skin and other soft tissue.

Crosstown Moves

Techcom, 29 Emmons Drive, Suite G-10, Box 8257, Princeton 08543-8257. Frank V. Sardi, president. 609-977-7111; fax, 609-951-8754.

Frank Sardi has moved his 40-year-old business from one suite to another on Emmons Drive and is now at G-10. He shares space with Ram Iyer, an outsourcing consultant with Argea, and Lisa Jantorno, a fee-only financial planner.

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