Houlton Regional Hospital’s education center to upgrade

Posted Feb. 11, 2011, at 6:42 p.m.

HOULTON, Maine — Tom Moakler, CEO for Houlton Regional Hospital, looked around the Center for Community Health Education and described it as one of the few places in town with extensive technical capabilities.

“We have education programs for the employees, the town and community banks. Several businesses have their annual meetings here and many of the not-for-profit organizations have educational sessions here,” said Moakler. “It’s a nice multimedia room and you can order a good meal [through the hospital] at minimal cost.”

Thanks to a $5,000 donation being made by the Health Services Foundation, the space will leap even further into the 21st century.

Three new control panels will be installed in the near future to upgrade the facility’s electronics.

“The control panels can access lights, power, a DVD, a computer, or another program and show it on the big movie projection screen or the large flat-screen TV for all three rooms or a single room,” said the center’s supervisor, Janet Vose. “There are three separate rooms here at the education center. So, we can open it up and have a large conference or have three separate ones going at once,” Vose said about the system’s capabilities.

Moakler added that the center can hold about 125 people.

“The nice thing about it is that your speaker will be up front. And, even if you have a seat in the back, you will always be able to see the speaker on the TV. Those control panels tie it all together,” he stated. Rental fees are free for community events, $10 per hour for nonprofit groups and $30 per hour for for-profit organizations and businesses. “It’s really a nominal fee,” Moakler said.

Elizabeth Dulin, executive director of Health Services Foundation, stated that there have been some issues causing the existing control panels in each of the three rooms “to stick” and inhibit proper functionality which is why the hospital officials want to upgrade. “If you were having a major meeting here that relies on smooth technology, you don’t want to have technical problems.”

Moakler predicted that, at some point in May, the hospital will welcome a well-known speaker to make a presentation about the importance of breast cancer awareness and the significance of having mammograms. By then, the new panels will have been installed for some time.

Back in 1997, converting the raw space into a high-tech multimedia center was Dulin’s first big fundraising project.

“This was shell space,” Moakler explained with a sweeping motion of his arm. “Sometimes we forget where we started. And, it was the foundation that got this whole thing going. The hospital would not have been able to do it. Since then there has been a litany of projects benefiting the hospital. You have to put this $5,000 do-nation in perspective of what the foundation has done.”

Among the donations Moakler cited were a vehicle for the skilled nursing unit, renovations for the pediatric office, renovations and a camera for the nuclear medicine department and a forthcoming digital mammography machine.

Moakler said that although the $5,000 donation is not as big as several other donations, “it’s part of the foundation’s continuing commitment. Every year something is upgraded. Last year we got new tables and chairs. There’s the flat-screen TV. The foundation has made a lifelong commitment to the center.”

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