SVHC CEO Tom Dee told board members that the new building would replace the current health center. “We’re excited to move ahead with this project critical for this region and our health system,” Dee said. “The current building in the Deerfield Valley is our old center, and it’s beyond its useful life.”
Jim Trimarchi, SVHC’s director of planning, said the new health center would be built about where the current Deerfield Valley Rescue building is located. Deerfield Valley Rescue has announced plans to purchase Frank Sprague’s former welding shop located on Stowe Hill Road, and renovate it as the rescue service’s new headquarters.
According to Trimarchi, construction at the current health center site made the most sense for SVHC and for their customers in the Deerfield Valley. “The site is pretty good in terms of layout and its location along route a hundred. This plan will allow us to build this new health center without losing operations at the old building (during construction).”
Trimarchi said the construction site will be blocked off for safety, but the current health center will stay open until the project is completed. Once the new building is open for business, the old health center will be torn down.
The design of the 6,000-square-foot building will be similar to SVHC’s two other recent projects in Manchester and Pownal. Dee said the new building will include a convenient drop-off point for patients, exam rooms, an X-ray room, procedure room, and an ambulance bay for transfers. The space allows for expansion of services, Dee said, based on growth in the area.
“Will you be open on weekends?” asked board member Sara Fisher.
“We’re not open on weekends now, but that’s something we could look at based on the volume and needs of the area.” Dee went on to say, however, that it can be difficult to find weekend staffing.
Fisher also asked about the planned construction schedule. “If everything goes well in the permit process this winter,” Trimarchi said, “we hope to break ground in April or May. Then we’re looking at nine to 12 months to build – nine if everything goes perfectly, and 12 if something goes wrong. So we hope to be open by April 2019.”
Responding to a question from Wilmington Wastewater Plant Chief Operator John Lazelle, Trimarchi said SVHC was still debating whether it would use town sewer for the new building, or install a private septic system. “We’re looking at both options,” Trimarchi said. “A lot of it has to do with cost. There’s a cost to getting (sewer) over the hill. Septic might be quicker and less expensive. But we’re still exploring all the options.”