The $86 million plan calls for the renovation of 60,000 sf ofexisting space and the addition of a 160,000-sf, four-storystructure for inpatient housing, emergency care, ambulatory surgeryand cancer care. It also calls for adding more than 700 parkingspaces on two decks, attached to an existing facility.

The medical center's board intends to present the plan toseveral neighboring communities, including Somerville, Bridgewaterand Raritan, within the next several weeks for public input. Theboard is also expected to put the funding process in motion,intending to apply to the New Jersey Health Care FacilitiesFinancing Authority for tax-exempt bonds.

The board has not specified a timeline for the project, althoughif all the pieces fall into place, construction could start nextyear. A key reason cited for the expansion is the fact thataccording to the latest census, the Somerset/Hunterdon Countyregion grew faster percentagewise than any other part of the statebetween 1900 and 2000.

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