HOULTON, Maine — Houlton Regional Hospital is set to become more private, more secure and better at infection control under a plan to renovate and expand the facility.
Hospital employees and administrators lauded the project Wednesday morning. The $2.9 million renovation and expansion will be funded by the hospital and by a bond that will be paid off over 30 years.
Right now there are two entrances to the emergency room on separate sides of the hospital. The ER waiting room also is in the main hallway of the hospital. ER manager Trish Murray said that arrangement makes it difficult for employees to keep the ER secure and private. It also is not an ideal layout for infection control.
Under the new plan, the ER will be expanded by 710 feet and will get a new entrance and a new waiting room. That will make it easier for ER employees to keep track of patients and give patients more privacy, since the ER will be separated from the general hospital population.
Also, privacy and space concerns for nuclear medicine and radiology will be addressed. The new plan will expand that department and provide separate rooms for the necessary tests, radiology’s Sue McLaughlin said. Construction crews will renovate and redesign the space and add 705 square feet of space to the unit.
The new space will include testing rooms and work space.
Finally, the cardiopulmonary and rehabilitation services will be relocated and housed in one location within the new addition. The hospital staffs two gyms for the unit.
The new plan calls for the hospital to have one gym and a number of rooms to house all of the department, staff offices and equipment.
The addition will add 7,640 square feet to the hospital.
Tom Moakler, the hospital’s chief executive officer, acknowledged that some might question the construction amid the current economy.
“We realize the economy is bad, but we still have to prepare for the future,” he said Wednesday.
He added that the project at first was estimated to cost $3.3 million, but the hospital was able to scale the project back to $2.9 million.
Some aspects of the project already have begun, and the work is expected to be finished in nine months.