Aroostook County – For the past several months TAMC patients and visitors have taken note of the many construction and renovation projects underway at the A.R. Gould Memorial Hospital in Presque Isle. The ongoing work represents the most significant changes to the buildings that comprise the medical center’s Academy Street campus in more than two decades.
“Our efforts are designed with patient experience and convenience as top priority,” said TAMC President and CEO Sylvia Getman. “We are working to group similar practices and services together and, to every extent possible, locate patient care areas to the main level, while moving non-patient care areas on the lower and upper levels.”
The work, which began over a year ago, will extend into 2018. Several of the more visible projects to improve the patient experience are now underway and others will be in the coming weeks and months. These include new centers for cancer, orthopedic and cardiac care, that will bring together services located on various parts of the hospital campus. In addition to new spaces for each specialty care practice that will be more convenient for patients, new technology will be added to ensure TAMC patients continue to receive the region’s highest quality care.
TAMC inpatients on the medical/surgical and women and children’s units will notice a difference as work to upgrade both areas is underway. In addition to a fresh, new look, the medical/surgical floor is transitioning to private patient rooms, a project that will be complete by fall. The women and children’s unit, which already accommodates one patient to a room, has been renovated with a number of additions to better serve the hospitals youngest patients, newborns and their families.
Along with the transition to private patient rooms, renovation to one of the rooms on the medical/surgical floor to better accommodate hospice patients and their families is nearly complete. The project was funded, in part, by nurses and staff on the unit who wanted to provide the most comfortable care possible for their patients and visiting family members and friends. Community donors have been instrumental in making the room a reality.
Work throughout the hospital is being completed by either TAMC maintenance staff, many of whom are skilled craftsmen, or local contractors and subcontractors who have crews in various parts of the facility. Many of the projects include upgrades to the building and new technology that are aimed at making TAMC more efficient, environmentally friendly, and, most importantly, continue the hospital’s tradition of providing the most advanced and comprehensive care in the region.
“We are very fortunate to have both a very talented maintenance staff and some top notch local contractors working on the many projects we have underway and those that are upcoming. Not only is their exceptional work helping us to save money, but they are installing the latest energy efficient fixtures that will help us realize future savings in heating and electricity,” said James McKenney, TAMC vice president for support services. “As we undertake this work, we are also upgrading the technology our providers use in most areas. We are not only improving the patient experience, but directly and positively impacting patient care.”
One of those areas is TAMC Eye Care Services. This project, currently underway, includes an expansion (doubling in physical space) and complete renovation of the practice, which has experienced significant growth in recent years with the addition of new providers. Located on the ground level of the Presque Isle Medical Office Building, Eye Care Services is led by the ophthalmologist team of County-natives Dr. Stephen Martin and Dr. Mark Morin.
The space on the main floor of the East Wing Annex Building located next to Aroostook Cancer Care will be the new home of TAMC’s radiation therapy service, the only of its kind for cancer patients in northern Maine. The bringing together of the oncology and hematology services at Aroostook Cancer Care and the radiation therapy services will allow for the creation of the region’s most comprehensive and technologically advanced cancer care center. As part of the effort, TAMC will install a new, state-of-the-art linear accelerator, which provides radiation therapy used to shrink tumors for cancer patients throughout the region. The renovation effort also includes plans for the creation of a new atrium area that will provide a beautiful new environment for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
As construction on the new cancer care center gets underway this fall, work on TAMC’s new orthopedic center will also begin. TAMC offers the most comprehensive orthopedic services north of Bangor with a team of five providers, including the only surgical podiatrist and physiatrist in the region.
The busy orthopedic practice has outgrown its space on the upper level of the Millennium Medical Office Building and will move to the main level of the Pinkham Wing, in space formerly occupied by conference rooms and the TAMC medical library. A new conference center and medical library were opened on the second floor of the East Wing Annex Building in early May after six months of construction. Among many new features, the new orthopedic center will feature a state-of-the-art digital x-ray.
Construction will also get underway soon by the main entrance, known as the Levesque entrance, to accommodate a new guest relations area and expanded gift shop, another very visible change for patients and visitors.
Projects under the capital improvement plan in the years to come will include the new cardiac care center, expansion and renovation of the operating rooms, a new critical care unit, and more improvements to the inpatient areas.
In addition to work on the A.R. Gould Memorial Hospital campus in Presque Isle this summer, TAMC is also making renovations to the Aroostook Health Center, its rehabilitation and long-term care facility in Mars Hill. There are also plans to make improvements and upgrades to the Fort Fairfield Health Center after the two unoccupied sections of the former Community General Hospital building attached to the facility are taken down.