Hospital project gets green light


RUMFORD – Construction of a new wing to Rumford Hospital will begin this summer.

John Welsh, chief executive officer for the facility, said his request for approval of a certificate of need from the Department of Health and Human Services finally came through on Friday for the $5.8 million project.

“This is the third of the three-phase project and the most important phase,” he said Monday afternoon. “We’re very excited. This phase is critical in meeting the needs of the community. We’re just delighted that Rumford will have an up-to-date facility.”

The hospital and trustees filed for the certificate of need about a year ago. Welsh said the longer time for approval can be attributed to specifications in the Dirigo Health Plan, but now that the approval has been received, designs by the Burlington, Vt., firm of Freeman French Freeman Inc. have already begun.

The $5.8 million will cover the cost of the architect, engineer and construction. The project will be financed by Rumford Hospital’s parent firm, Central Maine Healthcare, which is also the parent of Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

A two-story, 15,684-square-foot addition will be built at the rear of the existing hospital. Another 7,183-square-feet will be renovated.

The project will enable patients to have single rooms with handicapped accessible bathrooms and showers. Twenty-five single rooms are planned.

The hospital, built in 1926 with additions in 1965 and 1975, totaling 90,000-square-feet, now has double and triple rooms. Welsh said more and more patients are requesting private rooms.

The project will also reduce the number of nursing stations from three to one, provide space for additional out-patient clinics, replace one operating room, relocate the receiving area and enhance the overall efficiency of the hospital.

Welsh said the design is modeled on Bridgton Hospital, which is also affiliated with Central Maine Healthcare.

Phase III is the final phase of the hospital’s five-year project. Welsh said plans to bring the existing facility up to modern standards began when trustees decided to keep the hospital in the downtown rather than build a new hospital outside of town.

Phase I, costing $1 million, improved the building’s infrastructure. Phase II, completed last year at a cost of $2.3 million, renovated the emergency room and emergency room entrance area.

Welsh said a ground-breaking ceremony will take place in June. The project should be completed in one year.