EAGLE LAKE, Maine — Federal funds provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will allow Northern Maine General Hospital to shutter an antiquated office building and construct a new facility in its place.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced recently that $66.4 million will be provided through USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities program to spearhead 345 essential projects in 33 states.
This is the third wave of Recovery Act community facilities investments announced by USDA.
Nearly $2 million of that money has been sent to Maine for projects in Eagle Lake and Stockholm.
Northern Maine General will receive a $1 million loan to build a 7,300-square-foot office building for administration and program services.
Along with offering health and social services programs, the Eagle Lake facility also operates Mercy Home, a 40-bed long-term care facility, and the Franciscan Home, a 40-bed assisted living facility, both in Eagle Lake.
Reynold Raymond, chief executive officer of NMG, said Monday that the loan also will help cover the cost of demolishing the facility’s current office building.
Raymond said NMG heard news of the loan just before July 4.
“The new office building will be located adjacent to the existing building,” he said. “The existing building will be demolished because it no longer meets our needs.”
Among other problems, Raymond said, the current office building does not meet some safety codes and is not compliant with standards set forth by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
Raymond said that the existing facility, a two-story structure more than 60 years old, originally was a residential facility and was not set up to handle the electrical needs of a busy office building.
“We have had a couple of electrical fires in the past few years and those have just reinforced the fact that we really need to build a new facility,” he said Monday.
He said the new building will eliminate fire safety hazards, be ADA-compliant, and add room for more daily living and development skill programs for the mentally disabled.
The town of Stockholm will receive $780,000 in loan and grant funds to help renovate a building that once housed a school. After renovations are completed, it will be used as a municipal building and emergency meeting center.
Town officials were not available for comment on that project Monday.
USDA Rural Development’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents, Vilsack said in a written statement.
Raymond said Monday he expects construction on the office facility to begin in late summer or early fall, with completion of the building anticipated next summer.