LEHIGHTON, Pa. -- The Lehigh Valley Health Network unveiled plans Thursday for expanding into Carbon County.
People who live in Carbon County and need more specific care have always had to travel distances to see doctors who specialize in their needs, but that's soon about to change.
Lehigh Valley Health Network officials made the announcement at a news conference near Lehighton.
"Today as your partner in health, we are thrilled, thrilled and excited to announce that Lehigh Valley Health Network will build a new hospital and medical office building right here in your backyard in your community," said president and CEO Brian Nester.
"It's wonderful having Lehigh Valley Hospital to partner with our community. It's such a great exciting opportunity. It's going to result in superior health care for all of the residents," said Jim Thorpe resident Alicia Silliman.
The land was purchased along Route 443 in Mahoning Township, just up the road from Walmart.
"We looked at just about every possibility of where to build this campus. This seemed to be the best campus in terms of size, access, the ability to put infrastructure and the ability to grow over time," Nester said.
The hospital hopes to break ground on this 35-acre plot in the spring of 2020, with the opening scheduled for fall of 2021.
"We anticipate it will. It's going to take less than two years to design and build the hospital according to our projections, so we're very optimistic," said LV Hospital Carbon president Terry Purcell.
Future patients aren't the only ones expected to benefit from the new hospital.
Lehigh Valley Health Officials expect it will create about 150 jobs.
"It's a great opportunity for people to get employment closer to home and the residents in Carbon and Schuylkill Counties are getting much older and they don't want to travel. Lehigh Valley offers so many excellent superior services that we're fortunate to have," Susie Strauss said.
This hospital will be the network's ninth campus and also have specific services that include cardiologists from the Leigh Valley Heart Institute and expanded cancer services.
St. Luke's University Health Network announced last August that it would build an 80-bed facility just off Route 209 in Franklin Township. The two hospitals would be roughly five miles apart on either side of Lehighton.