ROCKPORT, Maine — Pen Bay Medical Center could break ground late next year on a 40,000-square-foot office complex that would consolidate outpatient offices now located along Route 1 onto the hospital campus.
The project was put before the Rockport Planning Board on Wednesday evening for a pre-application meeting. The proposal must still go for preliminary and final approval meetings before the board, according to Rockport Planner Jamie Francomano.
The next meeting on the project has yet to be scheduled.
The proposal calls for constructing a two-story building, with a 20,000-square-foot footprint, between the Sussman House hospice center and the hospital.
The building would have offices for 31 health care providers.
The cost of the project is estimated at $12 million, but the hospital is looking for ways to reduce that cost, according to Jenifer Harris, the regional director of marketing and communications for Pen Bay Medical Center and Waldo County General Hospital.
The offices would be used by physicians and other health care staff who currently lease offices, many of them along Route 1 in Rockport. Harris said the hospital would work with the current property owners to transition out of the existing leases as efficiently and expeditiously as possible.
“We feel that this building, being purpose built, will provide a tailor made environment for our providers to interact with patients. Owning the building provides Pen Bay with a way to invest in the community for the long term. This project will really consolidate the organization’s operations onto our main campus. It makes sense to invest in the property that we already own and it allows us to integrate our services more effectively. We feel that this is a win for both Pen Bay Healthcare and our patients,” she said.
Having the offices on the campus will also speed up responses for testing and diagnostics, she said.
The initial plan was to break ground in early spring, but that has been pushed back at least six months to implement a major electronics medical records project. She said the hospital wants to have the office complex “shovel ready” so it can begin as soon as the board gives final approval.
Construction is expected to take 12 months.