May 23, 2018
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MDI hospital to build women’s health center

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff

BAR HARBOR, Maine — In the space where the shell of a three-story office building once stood, Mount Desert Island Hospital has plans to build a new women’s health center.

The planned two-story building, which will be built in a residential style that is intended to blend in with the surrounding neighborhood, will replace the hospital’s current women’s health center on Wayman Lane.

“It doesn’t have enough space for the volume of patients they’re seeing,” hospital spokesman Bill Swain said Thursday of the existing building. Swain estimated that the new, 3,700 square-foot building will be roughly twice the size of the current women’s health center, which has been in a former house on Wayman Lane since 1993.

The current facility has exam rooms on two floors and no means of getting to the second story other than a stairway, which can be cumbersome for some patients, Swain said. The new center will be two stories but will have no exams rooms on the second floor. He said the multipurpose space on the second floor of the new building will be accessible by stairs and an elevator.

Construction on the new center is expected to begin this summer, according to Swain. The cost of the building, which is projected to be $1.1 million, is being raised entirely through donated funds. A capital campaign to raise the money is under way, he said.

Swain acknowledged that in addition to meeting the medical needs of hospital patients, the project also is geared toward addressing neighborhood concerns.

The new center will be located next to a three-story medical office building formerly owned by Cadillac Management Co. LLC. Before the hospital bought the office building in January 2011 for $630,000, Cadillac Management had begun work on expanding the office building onto the site where the new women’s health center will be located.

Despite concerns from some nearby residents about what kind of impact the expansion of the office building might have on the neighborhood, Cadillac Management received municipal approval to build the addition and began work on the project.

Swain said Thursday that the hospital was leasing space in the existing office building from Cadillac Management and, at the time the expansion was proposed, did not have the option to acquire the property.

“That was presented to us later,” he said.

After construction on the addition began, the hospital was offered the chance to purchase the building and an adjacent motel and did so, according to Swain. With the neighbors’ concerns in mind, the hospital then decided to halt work on the expansion and to dismantle the unfinished three-story addition that, according to hospital officials, was about 20 percent complete.

The existing office building will be left as it was, Swain said. The new women’s health center will be erected on the foundation that had been built for the office building expansion. To the extent that it is practical, contractors will reuse materials salvaged from the dismantled addition, he said.

In a statement issued by the hospital when the new women’s health center project was announced, officials said the new building will address multiple community needs.

“The new Women’s Health Center is designed to blend in with the residential character of the surrounding neighborhood by looking more like a home and less like a commercial building,” hospital officials wrote. “Planners are paying close attention to the details of the [existing] Wayman Lane location that make the facility welcoming and comforting to ensure those attributes continue in the new building.”

Follow BDN reporter Bill Trotter in Twitter at @billtrotter.

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