Hospital Project On Track

By Susan BushPrint Story | Email Story
Second-floor view of under-construction NARH elevator tower
North Adams – A North Adams Regional Hospital multi-phase makeover is progressing on schedule and a modernized critical care unit and new lobby area could be open by year’s end. “We expect the critical care unit to be open by the end of the year,” said NARH Community Relations Director Paul Hopkins during a May 4 interview and site tour. The entire project may be completed during August 2006. Critical Changes “The critical care unit is independent of other project components. The unit will stay in approximately the same area but will be three times the size it is today,” Hopkins said. The completed unit will cover the full length of the hospital’s northern wing and plans include glass-fronted private patient rooms all within sight of a nurse’s station, a family waiting space and a private consultation room. Patients are receiving care in rooms near the construction site and their comfort is a top priority, Hopkins said. Officials and employees of the project’s architectural firm DiGiorgio Associates Inc. and general contractor Monitor Builders Inc. are well-versed with hospital projects, he said. “They understand that a hospital operates 24 hours day,” he said, and noted that work was suspended on at least two occasions to accommodate surgeries. Weekly meetings with housekeeping department staff, infection control personnel, and information technology employees maintain communication about each construction step and employee strategies. “These meetings are important,” Hopkins said. “For example, we keep housekeeping informed about the next steps so that they can keep the construction where it should be.” An interior ceiling-to-floor wall was erected to protect patients and hospital staff from much of the construction dust and noise, and specially-designed adhesive mats are scattered along the construction area. Dust from the workers’ boots adheres to the mats; as one travels from just beyond the work zone to a door leading away from the site, the blue-hued mats show a consistent decrease in tracked dust particles. Ventilation tubing is in place as well. If lobby construction continues unimpeded, the area could open in September, Hopkins said. Structural steel is in place and concrete slab work is expected to begin next week. Overhead arched enclosures are being erected and construction of an elevator tower is underway. The elevator will serve all hospital levels except the basement. The lobby is expected to host a new gift shop as well. Privacy and Comfort for Patients Surgical unit construction plans include a 10,200-square-foot addition that will host a full range of services at one location. Once completed, the unit will house four state-of-the-art operating rooms, private recovery rooms, an update family waiting area, and chapel space. “Surgical services is more than doubling its space,” Hopkins said. “Everything is centralized. Everything will happen here, no more being wheeled through hallways. This will be much more private and comfortable.” Maternity unit construction is expected to begin once the surgical unit is completed, he said. The unit size will increase by about 3,500-square-feet and new features include five private rooms and two two-bed semi-private rooms. Whirlpool tubs and private bathrooms will deliver added comfort to maternity unit guests, Hopkins said. “This area will feel more like a hotel than a hospital." An Emergency Department overhaul is expected to result in 17 private examination rooms, inclusion of an x-ray suite equipped with digital x-ray technology, and “telemedicine” stroke services between hospital doctors and Massachusetts General Hospital neurologists. Bigger and Better Overall, the project will add about 19,000-square-feet to the hospital front and include about 30,000-square-feet of interior renovations. “With the renovations, the whole hospital is about 170,000-square-feet and about 50,000 square feet of that will be new,” Hopkins said. Some improvements are already in use. A new magnetic resonance imaging machine is serving patients and doctors and new floors and wall-coverings were recently installed at the hospital dining room. The about $23 million project is being funded in part by a $12 million CARE Campaign revenue effort. A private solicitation raised about $10 million toward the construction; a public appeal is now underway to raise $2 million that will establish a NARH endowment fund, Hopkins said. About $13 million of the construction costs are being funded via bonds issued by the hospital last fall. Fiscal Foresight and Tough Choices Hopkins said he is optimistic that news of recent administrative-level hospital job cuts will not adversely affect the public fundraising effort. The job cuts were necessary because of an ever-evolving health care services delivery system. Hospitals are providing less in-patient care and many more out-patient services, including day surgeries, MRI exams, and endoscopy procedures, and resources must be shifted accordingly, he said. Hospitals across the country are facing very tight financial constraints and are struggling to remain viable while implementing necessary changes. The NARH construction project was designed to modernize and improve the hospital and the care delivered; ironically, job cuts reflect the need for fiscal foresight as the facility moves into the future of healthcare. “We must show fiscal responsibility at administrative levels and beyond,” Hopkins said. “Where we have the opportunity to eliminate jobs, we have to do it. We have to be as careful as we can. Our hope is that the community will see that our staffing changes are meant to be fiscally responsible.” Susan Bush may be reached at 802-823-9367 or by e-mail at
0 Comments welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to

Cultural Pittsfield This Week: Aug. 2-8

Enjoy 18 different art shows featuring work by more than two dozen accomplished regional and student artists in Pittsfield's bustling Upstreet Cultural District during the First Friday Artswalk and all month long! 
In most venues, artists will be present from 5-8 p.m. A free guided tour begins at 5 p.m. at the Intermodal Center @ BRTA, 1 Columbus Ave.
The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts will host HAPPY, an abstract art show by Jesse Tobin McCauley for the month of August. There will be an opening reception during First Fridays Artswalk from 5-8 p.m. The exhibit runs through August 31.
Kids and teens, pick up the August 2nd Scavenger Hunt flyer for a chance to win a prize! Grab yours at the Artswalk table in Crawford Square, 137 North St., during the Artswalk or print one from the website.
Berkshires Jazz brings five of the most popular regional bands to the stage for the 2019 Berkshire Jazz Showcase, on the Pittsfield Common from 12-5 p.m. The wide-ranging lineup for this jazz extravaganza includes Gina Coleman and Misty Blues, Paul Green and Two Worlds, Andy Wrba's Berkshire Jazz Collective,
First Take with Mary Ann Palermo and the Kyle Murray Quintet. FREE.
Hancock Shaker Village welcomes Berkshire Opera Festival as they pay homage to American opera by composers such as Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and Carlisle Floyd. The recital, "Ain't it a Pretty Night," will feature soprano Caroline Worra, tenor John Riesen and pianist Lynn Baker will explore this essential part of the musical fabric of our country. 7:30 p.m. $18-$25.
FRI WordXWord Festival: Crosstalk at Tyler Street Lab | FRI Grahm Sturz at Hotel on North FRI Blue Light Trio at Rainbow | FRI Anthony Luchi at Rusty Anchor | FRI Sawyer Country at Proprietor's Lodge | FRI Karaoke Night at Friends | SAT WordXWord Festival: Accomplice[d] at Berkshire Museum | SAT Orin Swift Cellars Wine Tasting at Hotel on North | SAT Melissa Brinton at Rusty Anchor | SAT Jason & Trev at J. Allen's | SAT Uncensored Comedy Show at Uncorked | SUN Country Dance w/Spurs USA at Italian American Club | SUN-MON Marilyn Maye at Barrington Stage | MON Jazz Night at Mission | TUE Wintergreen at Springside Park | TUE Open Mic Night at O'Laughlin's | WED Live on the Lake: Generation X at Onota Lake | WED Gruppo Mondo at Rainbow | THU Deja Again at Mazzeo's | THU Abandoned Building Brewery Beer Dinner at Hotel on North | THU The Picky B's at Mission

Based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks animated film, Shrek The Musical is a Tony Award-winning fairytale adventure featuring all new songs from Jeanine Tesori (Thoroughly Modern Millie) and a side-splitting book by David Lindsay-Abaire. Shrek brings all the beloved characters you know from the film to the stage and proves there's more to the story than meets the ears. The Colonial Theatre through August 9. $35 and up.
ONGOING Hansel & Gretel at Berkshire Museum FRI WeeMuse: Adventures at Berkshire Museum FRI Designing with da Vinci at Berkshire Museum FRI Yoga for Kids at Berkshire Athenaeum FRI-THU Parenting Classes & Play Groups at 18 Degrees (formerly Berkshire Children & Families) SAT WeeMuse: Art Lab at Berkshire Museum SAT Health & Wellness Fair at 18 Degrees (formerly Berkshire Children & Families) SAT Chow Time at Berkshire Museum SAT Designing with da Vinci at Berkshire Museum SAT Child & Family Yoga at Onota Lake SAT da Vinci After Hours at Berkshire Museum SUN Discovery Tank Program at Berkshire Museum | MON Exploring Our World at Berkshire Museum MON Kindergarten Countdown at Berkshire Athenaeum MON Star Lab at Berkshire Athenaeum MON Cones with a Cop on The Common MON Stardust Cafe at Berkshire Athenaeum MON Swan Lake Dance Intensive at Cantarella School of Dance MON Auditions for Magic Tree House Kids at The Colonial MON+ KidsAct! at Barrington Stage TUE WeeMuse: Littlest Learners at Berkshire Museum TUE Designing with da Vinci at Berkshire Museum TUE Princess Songs & Popsicle Party at The Whitney TUE Project SpaceCRAFT: Planet Pinch Pots at Be TUE Screening of Monsters vs Aliens at Berkshire Athenaeum WED Little Gardeners of the Galaxy at Berkshire Athenaeum WED Uncharted Wild Animal Show at Berkshire Athenaeum WED Tie Dye on the Terrace at Berkshire Athenaeum | WED Creative Healing Workshop w/Funky Phoenix at Berkshire Museum THU Farm Friends at Hancock Shaker Village | THU Exploring Our World at Berkshire Museum THU Designing with da Vinci at Berkshire Museum THU Story Time at Berkshire Athenaeum THU Lego Lift Off at Berkshire Athenaeum
SAT Outdoor Yoga & Zumba at Onota Lake
Join Rachael from Berkshire Yoga Dance & Fitness every 1st and 3rd Saturday (June through August) for outdoor yoga and Zumba classes at Burbank Park on Onota Lake. Yoga begins at 9 a.m. and Zumba at 10:15 a.m. Come to one class or both! $10 suggested donation per class. Rain cancels.
FRI-THU Various Classes at Berkshire Running Center | FRI-THU Various Classes at Berkshire Family YMCA | FRI-THU Various Classes at Berkshire Yoga Dance & Fitness FRI-THU Various Classes at Radiance Yoga | FRI-THU Various Classes at Berkshire Salsa FRI-THU Various Classes at Pilates Fit | SAT Sunrise Yoga on the Deck at Rusty Anchor | SUN Guido's Great 8 Road Race | TUE Summer Fit Training at Berkshire Yoga Dance & Fitness | THU Outdoor Yoga at Onota Lake
ONGOING If I Forget at Barrington Stage
View Full Story

More Stories