BRATTLEBORO — Construction is underway at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital for the new surgical wing, which is scheduled to open in a few months.
“Since construction started, we have had some delays resulting from COVID restrictions, as well as labor shortages,” said Gina Pattison, director of development and marketing at BMH. “We had hoped to open the building in April, but now plan to have the Ronald Read Pavilion open in early July.”
At about 27,000 square feet spread over four floors, the Ronald Read Pavilion allows the hospital to replace and increase the size of the existing operating rooms to provide a more efficient work flow and meet size requirements. The hospital also will be able to upgrade its central sterile processing area to a larger space and provide a more efficient flow of equipment; relocate and make larger its minor procedure area and post-anesthesia care unit to be closer to the new operating rooms; add storage; move existing medical practices into a more modern and efficient space; and provide a larger and brighter space for the cardiac rehabilitation department that is more accessible to patients.
Rob Prohaska, the director of plant services at BMH, showed the Reformer three new operating rooms under construction and described the project being about modernizing the hospital.
“This is giving us more room for what we have in terms of services here at Brattleboro Memorial,” he said.
Initially anticipated to cost about $22.7 million in 2017, the project’s price tag now is estimated to be about $26,750,895. Pattison said the revised projection has been approved by the Green Mountain Care Board, which reviews and establishes community hospital budgets in Vermont.
“Now, with all permits obtained, and having weathered the COVID-19 public health emergency, project construction has resumed, but the cost of needed labor, materials and equipment to fully construct the project as applied for has increased significantly,” states a document submitted to the board.
Construction is being partially paid for with a $6 million bequest from Ronald Read, who died at 92 in 2014. Read, who worked as a janitor and lived in Brattleboro, quietly amassed an $8 million fortune after investing in the stock market and donated funds to the hospital and Brooks Memorial Library in Brattleboro.
The hospital took out a $12.5 million bond for the project and other investment funds will be used to cover the costs, according to the document submitted to the board.
HP Cummings is construction manager for the project.