Hospital adding 3-story building


FARMINGTON – If the state approves environmental permits for Franklin Memorial Hospital, officials plan to break ground this summer for a three-story medical office building.

H.E. Callahan of Auburn will oversee construction management of the $12.8 million-plus project that includes about $10.5 million for the 55,000-square-foot building, the second phase of the hospital’s master improvement plan. It is expected to increase efficiency, expand services and improve patient experiences.

It will bring about 20 construction jobs during the 18-month project and at least 10 to 15 new jobs once it is completed.

The building will allow the hospital to consolidate some services on its campus and put at least two buildings where services are housed now back on Farmington’s tax roll, hospital President Richard Batt said Thursday.

It will be the new home for Pine Tree Pediatrics, Pine Tree Women’s Care, Franklin Orthopedics, a general surgery practice, and a urology practice, all which have growing patient populations and pressing needs for improved efficiency and patient flow, Batt said.

Most of the medical building will accommodate medical practices and the Martha B. Webber Breast Care Center, but some services now within the hospital will be relocated to the lower level of the facility, including human resources and health information.

Space will be provided for Evergreen Behavioral Services counselors and other health and social service agencies so patients can access various services in one location.

During the first phase of its plan in 2001, the hospital was upgraded in a $12.5 million expansion and renovation project that added 30,000 square feet for new services, including an ambulatory care center, a family-centered birthing and pediatrics unit and new health education center.

The second phase will add the medical office building that will be connected to the hospital by an indoor corridor. It will be located, if you’re looking at the hospital from Route 4, behind the back left side of hospital where a section of woods is located behind the gazebo.

The project will be financed through a combination of cash reserves from Franklin Community Health Network and a loan from the Maine Health and Higher Educational Facilities Authority, Batt said. Though there will be no capital campaign in the community to support the building construction, donations may be sought for improving special services, new furnishings and dedication space to honor community members.

The building will have its own entrance and be located on a new paved loop road that will also offer more parking area to better accommodate patients seeking care at local medical practices, Batt said.

“Our patients are the heart and soul of our health network, and this office building is one more investment in their well-being,” he said. “This building will give our patients a cheerful and practical space for seeing their doctors and nurses, the most up-to-date equipment, vastly improved efficiency that reduces administrative burdens and costs, and convenience for families and people of all ages in seeking the services they need.”

It also is expected to help attract and retain doctors, nurses, and other providers.

“We’ve had success attracting doctors and nurses who are among the best in Maine, and as our medical office facilities age and our patient and physician populations grow, we need to maintain that edge as the source of exceptionally high quality medical and nursing talent,” Leslie Hawkins administrator of Pine Tree Medical Associates said in a release Thursday.