FORT KENT — Northern Maine Medical Center (NMMC) marked the launch of a historic construction project by hosting a ground breaking ceremony, May 29, 67 years after the People’s Benevolent Hospital was built. The Board of Trustees, along with a representation from hospital leadership and staff, were on hand to mark the occasion at the construction site.
Construction of the four-story, 15,600 square foot, $12.6 million addition to the hospital’s existing facility began in early May. The project ensures the presence of a state-of-the-art facility for the residents of the St. John Valley. It is also an investment in modernization, imperative for recruitment of surgeons and other professionals, as well as the preservation of service lines necessary to maintain a strong and healthy sole-community hospital.
The project is of historic proportion, and vital to the continued success of the hospital. Peter Sirois, NMMC president and CEO said, “The construction of the four story expansion will enable the renovation and enhancement of the operating rooms along with other key clinical and support spaces. We are committed to the legacy of the hospital’s founder, Father Aime Giguere, who made a dream come true nearly seventy years ago. With this expansion, we are poised to stay focused on our mission and vision to continue to provide top quality and safety for our patients.”
He explained that the renovation of the existing space was considered, but rejected because the space could not accommodate new building code requirements. The main areas that will be serviced by the expansion are: the addition of two new modern operating rooms with a private elevator dedicated to patient transport, renovation of the original 1952 laboratory to today’s standards, new space in behavioral health to enhance the treatment program, relocation and modernization of an efficient and welcoming cafeteria, relocation of the endoscopy service and relocation of the oncology clinic to a bright and modern service area. The new construction also supports strategies aimed at the recruitment of professionals and other healthcare providers to the St. John Valley, providing healthcare close to home and reducing the necessity for Valley residents to travel south to undergo surgical procedures or to seek other healthcare services. The anticipated completion timeline for the project is November of 2020.
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