Work continues on BMH’s expanded Emergency Department

BRATTLEBORO — At the end of a hallway at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital is a nondescript red and white wooden door.

Open that door, and you'll find yourself in the middle of a construction zone.

Work began on the renovation and expansion of BMH's emergency department (ED) in November, but construction work has picked up speed with the return of good building weather.

BMH President and CEO Steve Gordon said last week that progress on the $7.5 million project is “excellent.”

Gordon said that the first phase of the project - a new front entrance for the hospital that includes a new walk-in entrance for the ED - should be completed by late July or early August.

A new registration area and new exam rooms should also be finished at that time, he said.

“That will allow us to go into the existing ED, and start the renovations there,” he said.

H.P. Cummings of Ware, Mass., is the project's general contractor. The firm has a long history at BMH. Its most recent project was the Richards Building, the hospital's outpatient wing, completed in 2008.

The new emergency department will have three ambulance bays, six private rooms, a separate entrance for walk-in cases, and a private admissions area. It will expand into the space of the former gift shop and coffee shop. A new café-style coffee shop will open on the opposite side of the rebuilt lobby.

Gordon said the goal of the project is to reduce waiting time, improve patient privacy, and give the emergency department more space to do its work. This is important, he said, as nearly three-quarters of patients admitted to BMH start their medical journeys in the ED.

The emergency department was last renovated in 1982. At that time, it was constructed to serve approximately 6,000 patients annually. Over the past 30 years, the number of patients served by the Emergency Department has more than doubled to about 13,000 visits per year.

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