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September 29, 2017

MaineMed gets state approval for $512M expansion

Courtesy / Maine Medical Center
Courtesy / Maine Medical Center
An architect's rendering depicts Maine Medical Center's $512 million expansion, which will add 128 private rooms and 19 modern procedure rooms to the main Portland campus. Groundbreaking is planned for March 2018.

Maine Medical Center cleared two important milestones this week for its planned $512 million expansion and renovation. Groundbreaking is planned for March 2018 and construction is expected to take about four years.

MaineMed — which is the state's largest hospital, is licensed for 637 beds and is the flagship facility in the MaineHealth system — said Thursday that it received final approval from state regulators for its project in Portland.

The project also cleared the first step in Portland's review process at Tuesday's Planning Board meeting and heads next to the City Council, where a vote is expected in November.

State regulators had given preliminary approval in August, and Acting Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Ricker Hamilton issued final approval in a letter dated Sept. 26. Final approval consists of a so-called Certificate of Need for the project.

MaineMed unveiled the expansion plan in October 2016.

The new 270,000-square foot building will add 128 private rooms, 19 modern procedure rooms, and expanded outpatient services to its main Portland campus, but will not increase the number of hospital beds.

Following discussions with neighborhood representatives and city officials, MaineMed has modified its parking plan, eliminating the need to build a 13-story garage on Congress Street and instead moving employee parking to a parcel on St. John Street.

Jeff Sanders, MaineMed's executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in Thursday's news release that "we have improved our original plan and created a solution that will serve the needs of our patients, our community and all of Maine."

MaineMed said it embarked on the project because of aging infrastructure and evolving standards in medical care.

Buildings on the hospital's main campus date to the late 1800s, and more than half the patient rooms are in buildings more than 40 years old. In some cases, as with the existing employee parking garage, facilities have reached the end of their useful life.

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