November 23, 2013

Thayer hospital renovation underway in Waterville

The Thayer Center for Health on North Street is undergoing a $16 million renovation project that will include moving some MaineGeneral Health operations in other areas of the city and Fairfield to the building.

By Amy Calder acalder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE — The $16 million Thayer Center for Health renovation, which includes moving some MaineGeneral Health operations from other areas of the city and Fairfield to the building, is underway.

click image to enlarge

WORK UNDERWAY: Thayer Center for Health in Waterville is undergoing a $16 million renovation project that will include moving some services. Completion is expected in the fall of 2014.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

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GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Workers left notes on the wall of 2 Central at Thayer Center for Health in Waterville after the work there was tranferred to the Alfond Center for Health in Augusta

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

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“We’re just thrilled and I think once the Waterville community sees the renovations that they’re just going to be blown away with all the services being aligned,” said Chuck Hays, president and chief executive officer of MaineGeneral Medical Center.

The renovation project is expected to be completed in the fall of 2014 and will result in what MaineGeneral officials are calling the most comprehensive outpatient center in Maine.

The Thayer project follows construction of the $312 million Alfond Center for Health in Augusta, which earlier this month took patients from the Thayer hospital. The move marked the end of admitting patients for overnight stays at Thayer.

When Hays started at MaineGeneral 18 years ago, the inpatient to outpatient ratio was 60-40, now that number is reversed, from 40 percent inpatient to more than 60 percent outpatient.

“The change in technology is moving that way,” Hays said. He said gall bladder surgery, for instance, used to mean an overnight stay, but now it is done as outpatient surgery.

The 250,000-square-foot Thayer building has four floors and a basement that will be fully occupied once renovations and relocations are complete, according to both Hays and Paul Stein, MaineGeneral’s chief operating officer.

“The interesting thing is, we’re actually going to have more patients than we had in the past,” Hays said.

An important feature of the renovated space is that services will be located with like services, with physicians’ offices situated near services they provide, according to Hays. Gastroenterologists, or doctors who specialize in the digestive system and its disorders, will be in the same area as endoscopy services, a department where colonoscopies and related examinations are performed.

“We’re hoping that we’re really providing some ease of access for the community, much like we did at the Alfond Center for Health,” he said.

Meanwhile, Inland Hospital, which is part of Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, continues to take inpatients at its facility on Kennedy Memorial Drive.

Thayer now, Thayer future

Thayer will continue to operate a 24-hour emergency department, with an entrance off North Street. A $3.6 million renovation was completed in February 2007. Patients who come to the emergency room and require hospital admission will be taken by ambulance, if necessary, to the Alfond Center for Health — an approximate 20-minute trip south on Interstate 95.

Free van service is also available daily to take patients from Thayer to the new hospital and the next-door Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care.

Other services currently at Thayer include cardiovascular, dialysis, nephrology, volunteer services, imaging, laboratory and endoscopy, all on the first floor; same day surgery on the second floor; and allergy, asthma, pulmonary, cardiac rehabilitation and other services and the cafeteria in the basement.

As part of the changes over the next nine months, the Edmund N. Ervin Pediatric Center will move from MaineGeneral’s Seton Campus on Chase Avenue to Thayer’s fourth floor, which formerly housed mental health and substance abuse services. Those services moved to the Alfond Center for Health.

The Children’s Advocacy Center of Kennebec and Somerset counties will move from Seton to Thayer’s first floor.

The business office, including billing and collections, will move from Seton to the Hathaway Creative Center on Water Street.

MaineGeneral’s HomeCare & Hospice, human resources and behavioral health departments are already housed at Hathaway.

In June, MaineGeneral sold the Seton building to Dirigo Capital Advisors LLC and has a lease for the building through next October, according to Hays. Dirigo has not yet announced its plans for that building, which is 50 years old.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

STORAGE: Hospital beds are stored in a room on the 2nd floor of Thayer Center for Health in Waterville.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

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CHANGING: The gift shop is closing temporarily during renovations at the Thayer Center for Health in Waterville.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

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MOVING: Workers move equipment as a $16 million renovation project begins at Thayer Center for Health in Waterville.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

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LOBBY: The current lobby of Thayer Center for Health in Waterville will be one of the first projects to undergo a facelift as part of a $16 million renovation project at the building on North Street.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

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WORK SPACE: The former cafe at the Thayer Center for Health in Waterville will be transformed in to a patient waiting area as part of a $16 million renovation project.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

 


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