Vermont's largest private employer keeps growing. Plans are in the works for full renovations and construction at Fletcher Allen Health Care.
Some plans are preliminary, others are already in motion. But all plans seem to be happening with patient privacy in mind. Double rooms are on their way out.
“The facilities, although they've served us very well for a long period of time, are really due for replacement,” said Fletcher Allen Dir. Of Facilities Planning & Development David Keelty.
The first place to see change at Burlington's hospital is the Mother Baby Unit. Currently, the rooms are doubles with a shared bathroom. They hold two moms and their newborns.
“It's difficult, particularly when you have visitors, people wanting to come in and engage with the family and the newborns,” said Keelty. “There's just not enough room. Rooms were built half a century ago, just don't work well with today's care standards."
Keelty is in charge of the project. Plans show 28 total rooms, 22 of which will be singles with a bathroom and family area. The new $11.4 million Mother Baby unit will open next summer.
“There is another process that we needed to do to be able to make the Mother Baby project happen and that was we needed to move our clinical research center and that cost is about $4 million,” explained Keelty.
40% of Fletcher Allen's patient rooms are singles right now. If approved, another project would bump that up to 90%.
The hospital is working closely with the City to start planning a brand-new, multi-story building with 128 rooms. They made a presentation for the Development Review Board last week.
“In this case, we're building in Burlington. We want to get input from the Zoning & Planning design review boards to inform us as to what the project should incorporate,” said Keelty.
The new facility would be built on top of the current emergency room parking lot.
Designers hope to complete their vision this fall as well as submit a construction application.
Approval could come 6 months to a year later. The new inpatient building could open by mid 2018.