Bangor, Maine's Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC) is the flagship medical center of Eastern Maine Health System. The EMMC modernization project, designed by MorrisSwitzer Environments for Health (Burlington, Vt.), is focused on creating opportunities for the hospital to adapt to emerging technology and modern procedures while accommodating increased demand on a limited footprint.

A new 361,000-square-foot patient tower is being constructed by a construction management joint venture between Cianbro Corp. (Pittsfield, Maine) and Brasfield & Gorrie (Birmingham, Ala.) and will open in 2017.

This new tower will have expansive views of the adjacent Penobscot River and is strategically designed to meet current needs and allow for future growth. The new tower will support a new sterile processing department, main lobby, heart center, surgical suite, NICU, two floors of private patient rooms, and a newly renovated labor and delivery center.

The private rooms are designed to meet the needs of a wide range of patients, with adaptable acuity to maximize future flexibility. Each room is designed to provide a warm and relaxing atmosphere for healing, surrounding the patient with organic textures and ample natural light.

The 29 single-bassinet rooms in the new NICU are designed to accommodate around-the-clock care for EMMC's most vulnerable patients. The NICU, 25 postpartum rooms, 32 inpatient telemetry rooms, and the 24-bed critical care unit all feature rooming-in accommodations for families, improving patient outcomes by enhancing the family's role in the healing process.

Bedside patient lifts will assist staff in patient care, reducing the physical demands on nursing staff. Each room is also equipped with private bathrooms featuring a European shower concept that increases accessibility for patients. Family lounges are included on inpatient floors to create a place of retreat outside of the patient room. Each lounge includes panoramic views of the river in a homelike setting.

The new addition will augment the services that EMMC can provide to the community, such as labor and delivery, and add new space for consolidated heart care, including nuclear medicine, non-invasive cardiology, and invasive labs—all equipped with state-of-the-art technology for diagnosis and treatment.

The new facility will also include 14 operating rooms with pre-op and PACU, as well as a new sterile processing department. Two of the new operating rooms will be hybrid ORs equipped with advanced medical imaging devices, enabling minimally invasive surgery. The design of these areas focused intensely on infection control, taking into account the carefully orchestrated workflow of the surgeons and staff, as well as creating a separate, dedicated sterile pathway for supplies and instruments.

The spaces are connected to the existing ambulatory surgery department, creating one of the largest, most comprehensive surgery centers in the state.

As a Center for Health Design Pebble Project member, this project incorporates the latest advances in evidence-based design. Views of nature, natural light, decentralized nurses’ stations, comprehensive wayfinding, adaptable-acuity single patient rooms, patient lifts, respite areas for patient families and staff are all incorporated into the design of the new tower.