Several years ago, we decided to be progressive and build a new building to house the Windber Research Institute. Yes, it was risky. Yes, it would take an enormous amount of hard work and good luck to even make the organization sustainable on a long term basis, but the optimists won, and we launched the effort to build.
The journey to completion on that building was not only significant, it turned out to be extremely difficult. Don't get me wrong, the architects did a great job. Engineering was fine, and all of the members of our building committee worked hard to bring it to fruition.
Interestingly enough, due to nearly 18 months in delays and some difficult publicity, we ended up losing three biotech companies that had intended to locate here in Windber. They went to New York State, New Jersey and Harrisburg.
Now, several years later, after trying to attract new biotech organizations to our building, we found several physicians who were willing to move in, but, unlike the companies that had previously chosen us, these physicians cannot do their work without contiguous parking spaces for their patients. Consequently, a year ago, we began our quest to assist our neighbors at St. Mary's Byzantine church by providing a parking lot for their use on weekends. This would also provide the needed spaces for the doctors offices during the week. It was all about neighbors helping neighbors, for which the community would be richer.
Fortunately, or—depending upon your point of view—unfortunately for some, our medical facilities are currently being stressed because of increased use. We are growing fast and, to meet those demands, must continue to expand. This growth cannot take place in a vacuum. To continue to grow takes both money and co-operation, and both are sometimes very hard to come by.
If we want a sub specialist on our campus, parking must be a consideration. If the emergency room is to be large enough to accommodate the demand, it needs to be doubled in size. If there is no place for education, large meetings, or significant activity space for children's exercise programs, a building must be built. Finally, the need to accommodate the birth of numerous babies will also require more physicians and more space.
If we cannot grow, we will all pay the price, and that price will include inconvenience and lack of adequate expansion capabilities.
Let's hope and pray that co-operation will become the key to forward movement. Otherwise, we will spend countless dollars, hours and energy staying small. Our future rests in our ability to treat more people more efficiently, and that cannot happen without co-operation.