RUMFORD — Rumford Community Dental held its grand reopening Thursday afternoon, inviting residents, donors and stakeholders to take a tour of the new building and meet the staff.
The Rumford branch closed July 2 after high winds from severe thunderstorms ripped off 30 percent of the roofing on the River Valley Technology Center.
Karen Rickley, director of human resources and community development, said that in the process of remodeling, the office got all new floors, a new ceiling, new walls — pretty much new everything.
Hebert Construction did the remodeling, she said.
“The storm really did a number on the building,” she said. “Almost everything had to be replaced. The water got behind the walls and caused mold to grow, so they tore out the walls and put new ones in.”
Around 4 p.m., John Welsh, chairman of the board for the Rumford Community Dental office, thanked residents for “rallying together and getting this place open again.
“Before we opened the dental center, I was seeing a lot of dental patients in our emergency room at the hospital,” Welsh said. “I said to myself, ‘Our ER docs are good, but they’re not the best dentists I’ve ever met.’ Some of us were concerned that we were going to have a shortage of dentists in the area. We ended up getting some planning grant money, the community rallied together and next thing I know, we have a community dental center in Rumford.”
Welsh said it was a sad day when the Rumford Community Dental building flooded.
“I remember coming up and seeing what water can do to a dental center,” Welsh said. “Let me tell you that it can do a hell of a lot.”
The Community Dental board struggled in the days following the flood, Welsh said.
“We struggled on whether we should rebuild here or relocate,” Welsh said before gesturing to the audience. “That’s when you folks came together, rallied and said, ‘We want you to stay where you are and keep Community Dental in the area.’
“Our board and the rest of the management team said, ‘Let’s just plow ahead with this and get this building back in operation,’” he said. “We really have all of you to thank — everyone who stepped up and donated their time and money to get this place running.”
Lisa Arsenault, chief executive officer for Community Dental, said she was in Maryland when she received a phone call that “a tornado or something had hit Rumford, and the Community Dental roof had been torn off.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Arsenault said. “We always see the damage fire and smoke do, but you never really understand the damage water can do until you see it.”
The Rumford Community Dental center is scheduling appointments, Arsenault said, but won’t officially open until the beginning of January, when they will be open for three days a week until their client base is re-established.
Arsenault lauded the several stakeholders responsible for helping get the dental center up and running, including Franklin Savings Bank, Rumford Hospital and River Valley Rotary Club.
“Thanks to all of you, we’re back — and we’re going to do our darndest to make sure we’re better than ever,” Arsenault said.