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Peconic Landing files plans for Wellness Center expansion

Hoping to draw medical specialists to its campus, officials at Peconic Landing in Greenport have filed plans with Southold Town to expand the facility’s Wellness Center.

Currently, the Wellness Center has three examination rooms and the goal of the expansion is to add 1,138 square feet and two more exam rooms where doctors could see patients, according to CEO Robert Syron.

Drawings and other documents filed with Southold Town’s planning department show that, along with an expansion of the Wellness Center, the facility is also looking to increase parking space at the center from the current 50 to 78.

The need for more exam rooms, Mr. Syron explained, is a matter of practicality. “In years past we would do one trip a week taking a member to an appointment in Riverhead,” he said. “Now we are averaging three a day, five days a week. It can turn into a three to four-hour trip.

“We thought we owed our residents a higher quality of life,” he added. “We did a fundraiser and raised $700,000 for the expansion.” 

Included in that amount, Mr. Syron explained, is a $125,000 grant Peconic Landing received through the office of State Senator Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson).

Currently, the retirement and life care community is home to 353 members residing in all neighborhoods across the 145-acre campus on Long Island Sound. The Wellness Center currently is about 1,200 square feet; the proposal filed with Southold Town would double that.

At this time, the Wellness Center offers access to specialists in cardiology, internal medicine and podiatry. With the additional space and two more exam rooms, the facility could then attract additional campus-based specialists such as orthopedic and rheumatology.

Mr. Syron said those doctors would also be available to the community at large.

“We simply ran out of exam space,” he said. “We brought in East End Cardiology, and it’s a wonderful thing for a member to walk down the hallway and see a specialist. We are looking for more opportunities like that.

“We also want to open it up to the greater community,” he added. “We want those specialists to come here, so our members don’t have to leave. It’s a win for our members and the community at large.”

As Long Island and New York State continue to improve as it relates to COVID-19, doctors’ offices still restrict the number of people who can be scheduled. Some offices require patients with appointments to wait outside until they can be called in for an appointment.

Those restrictions, Mr. Syron explained, also made having exam rooms and specialists based at Peconic Landing more logical, thus eliminating travel to offices farther west.

The COVID-19 pandemic struck the facility in later winter. In late May the facility reported they no longer had any known COVID-19 cases on the campus. The life care and retirement community had been the location of the some of the earliest known cases of the virus in Suffolk County back in early March

The virus has proved to be particularly damaging for the population in nursing homes. Peconic Landing operates a skilled nursing facility while also serving as a home for independent members. In late spring Peconic Landing  broke down its numbers in an update posted on its website which showed a total of 13 deaths. Eight of those were at the skilled nursing facility, which is called The Shores.

Two deaths were reported at both Harbor North — the one-bedroom apartments where care services are provided — and Harbor South, the private memory suites that have shared neighborhood amenities. One death was reported among the independent living community.

Throughout the late winter and spring, as deaths in nursing and other care facilities mounted nationwide, Peconic Landing was praised by some officials for its transparency in dealing with members, their families and the public.