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Portland Press Herald | The new Mercy

The new Mercy

April, 2008 Download PDF

The hospital's Fore River campus is well on its way, with opening day scheduled for September.

Brick and rectangular, Mercy Hospital's new home on the Fore River looked much like other buildings under construction around Portland.

Then work crews installed soaring windows with pointed arches reminiscent of a Gothic cathedral, their shape accented by cast-stone trim. In the coming weeks, they'll be putting in a set of rounded stained-glass windows for the chapel by the entrance.

"We wanted it to look and feel like a modern health care institution. We also wanted it to reflect the faith-based nature of our organization," said Tim Prince, vice president of planning at the hospital, which is overseen by the Sisters of Mercy.

After nearly two years of construction, the hospital is just months away from completion. With much of the staging and equipment now gone, travelers passing through Portland on Interstate 295 can see how one of the city's gateway buildings will finally look.

Hospital officials say the rest of the hospital will be ready by September. Mercy plans to move some surgery services and its birthing program from its outmoded, overcrowded location on State Street to the new $85 million, 151,000-square-foot building.

Around the same time, Mercy will be relocating other operations to an office building on the same campus as the new hospital. The building, built by Landmark Healthcare Facilities Inc. of Milwaukee on land leased from the hospital, will house Mercy services for breast health, oncology and hematology.

Two Mercy-owned practices are setting up shop in the office building this week. New England Foot and Ankle Specialists and Fore River Urology will begin seeing patients in their new offices by Tuesday, the hospital said. Three private practices are already tenants in the building.

The rest of the hospital's services - such as critical care, outpatient cardiology and the emergency room - will stay at the State Street location until a 200,000-square-foot addition to the Fore River hospital is completed about a decade from now.

Prince said that $200 million part of the project likely will start in 2015 and be completed in 2018, in time for Mercy's 100-year anniversary.

The construction schedule is contingent on issues such as financing and receiving state and city approvals for the project, he said.

Construction of the first phase of the hospital should be done by July 24, leaving time for Mercy to move in equipment and beds, said Michael Poulin, who is overseeing the building site for Gilbane Building Co. of Providence, R.I.

Crews already have set up birthing tubs on the third floor and built seven operating rooms on the second. Poulin said part of Wednesday was spent installing drywall on the fourth floor.

Poulin said that one of the buildings' finest touches are the glass walls of several waiting rooms overlooking the Fore River.

"The rooms get a lot of light and they get a beautiful view, especially at high tide," he said.

Mercy's relocation to the Fore River is taking place at the same time Portland's other hospital, Maine Medical Center, expands its campus on Bramhall Street. That project includes a helipad, a new emergency room department and a new birthing center.

Staff Writer Josie Huang can be contacted at 791-6364 or at: jhuang@pressherald.com
Copyright © 2008 Blethen Maine Newspapers

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