Federal funds to aid hospitals’ expansions

NASHUA – Expansion projects at the city’s two hospitals are among 14 across the state that will receive federal funds through a $388.4 billion omnibus spending bill recently approved by Congress.

The Omnibus Appropriations Act, which was signed into law by President Bush earlier this month, covers all federal spending for the year except for the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security and the federal portion of payments to the District of Columbia, appropriations bills that already have been approved.

New Hampshire projects, which were recommended by U.S. Rep. Charles Bass and U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg, include:

– $1 million for St. Joseph Hospital to purchase equipment and clinical services for the new oncology center, part of a major expansion.

– $500,000 for Southern New Hampshire Medical Center for hospital expansion of emergency and cardiovascular services.

St. Joseph Hospital is undergoing a $25 million expansion, the first major building project there in more than two decades. The medical center is adding 22,000 square feet to expand its emergency and cardiovascular services – an $18 million project it expects to complete by next summer.

Heads of both hospitals said they were grateful for the support from the state’s congressional delegation.

“We want to thank both Senator Judd Gregg and Representative Charles Bass for their efforts in obtaining this $500,000 grant,” said Thomas Wilhelmsen Jr. in a statement. “It will make the $17 million dollar investment easier and directly improve the health of our community.”

The federal spending bill also includes $250,000 for cleanup and improvements at Thoreau’s Park on Main Street in Nashua, $850,000 for wastewater and sewerage treatment improvements in Nashua and $1.5 million to develop an airborne exchange program by the Aerostat Corp. in Temple.