Centre approves bonds to help Mount Nittany

By EMMA GOSALVEZ

egosalvez@lockhaven.com

BELLEFONTE –Mount Nittany invests a lot in the community, and Centre County is making sure that it can continue to do so.

During the Tuesday morning meeting, the Centre County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution to have the Centre County Hospital Authority issue tax-exempt bonds, the proceeds of which will not exceed $80 million, to assist Mount Nittany Medical Center. This, in conjunction with a combination of taxable bonds, will provide funds to refinance a portion of the authority’s hospital revenue bonds and approximately $32 million worth of capital projects that will take place at Mount Nittany’s area medical facilities.

“We live here in this community, we work in this community, and we are dedicated to the health of people in this community,” said Mount Nittany Health CEO Kathleen Rhine. “Mount Nittany since 2009 has actually invested $234 million in bringing new health care services to the communities — whether that’s new equipment and technology, patient-friendly spaces — to be sure that the number of things that people could get right here increases and keeps them from having to travel out of the community, whenever possible, for care.”

The bonds will help finance a number of new expansions and improvements to existing area Mount Nittany facilities, including the Cardiovascular Pavilion, the Women and Children Center, kitchen and cafe upgrades, renovations to first floor ambulatory services, and the installation of a variety of hospital equipment.

Through the project, Mount Nittany will see savings of about $2 million on interest during the term of the bonds, according to Randy Tewksbury, Mount Nittany Health chief financial officer. Since Mount Nittany is a tax-exempt organization, any money saved will go back into the community, through things such as facilities, programs and staff, Tewksbury explained.

In other business, a contract with PSX, Inc. has been approved for installation of a new surveillance system at the Centre County Correctional Facility. The contract will not exceed $450,000.

“[They are] revamping the whole system and facilities, since it’s antiquated,” said Warden Christopher Shell.

New changes include digital cameras that capture a 360-degree area, and additional cameras will be installed outside the facility for more security, Shell said. The new digital cameras can pinpoint one area better while other areas are being monitored, and they will allow for facial recognition.

Another benefit is the DVR system will run for three to four months of data; currently, it runs for two to three weeks. Shell said this will give correctional facility staff the ability to look back further in time if an incident occurs that needs to be investigated.

“This is both a safety improvement for staff and the inmates; it protects both sides of the equation,” Commissioner Steve Dershem said. “I think it’s important that we have the latest recording equipment so we can monitor, and it acts as a real deterrent to problems and it also can document if one does occur.”

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