Ever since it opened its doors in 1998, the Cape Cod Free Clinic & Community Health Center has yearned for a home of its own. Now that dream may become a reality with the announcement of a $5.25-million capital campaign to create a 10,000-square foot facility in Mashpee.
The new building, on Commercial Street off Route 28, will triple the Health Center's capacity to more than 25,000 patients a year.
It will be funded entirely by philanthropy and Health Center officials said that $2.45 million already has been raised. The largest gift so far is the land, from the Town of Mashpee, valued at $1 million. Several foundations, businesses, banks, and individuals have made major commitments.
Since its beginning the Health Center has occupied and outgrown three different leased locations. Plans for the new building were jump-started a year ago, when Mashpee voted to transfer a parcel of land to the Health Center for this purpose. Construction is expected to begin by year's end, with occupancy anticipated in late 2007.
After years in the planning and building, Cape Cod Hospital's new Marian G. and Stephen P. Mugar Building this month marks its grand opening, actually a bit ahead of schedule, in part due to last year's exceptionally mild winter.
The hospital now plans to open the first two floors with 60 new patient rooms immediately. The remaining top two patient floors are currently shelled-in and will be completed some time in the future. Ultimately, the result will be a modern, 102,000-square-foot, brick, sandstone and glass structure with 120 new all-private rooms.
The five-story structure also includes catheterization lab facilities, a materials management area and a new cafeteria and lobby.
Why the need for new patient rooms? Despite the Cape's growing population, Cape Cod Hospital has not added rooms since 1976. In addition, Cape Cod Healthcare serves a population that is significantly older than the state's average age and so there are more who require hospitalization. However, Cape Cod has had a significantly lower hospital bed-per-patient ratio of 1.3 beds per 1,000 of population as compared to 2.6 statewide and 2.9 nationally.
Before the addition of the new building, the previous 320-bed capacity broke down to 225 at Cape Cod Hospital and 95 in Falmouth. The 60 new beds represent a 27 percent increase in capacity at Cape Cod Hospital, which also could translate into shorter waits in a busy Emergency Department for patients who need to be admitted.
Funding for the project was jump-started by a record $5 million challenge gift from Cotuit resident David G. Mugar in 2002. This was followed by four separate $1 million gifts from Ted and Helen Persson, Alexander and Brenda Tanger, Frank and Maureen Wilkens and John and Marjorie McGraw. Paul and Lila Lorusso earlier this year joined their fellow Cape Codders with a separate $2 million donation.
The total projected cost is $38 million.
Falmouth Hospital's new Medical Office Building is officially in business. The new 62,000-square foot Medical Office Building, attached to the Faxon Center, becomes the new main entrance to the hospital and includes physicians' office space, as well as significantly-upgraded rehabilitation services facilities, plus the Falmouth Hospital Auxiliary Gift Shop.
Actually, the new rehab services facility occupying most of the first floor opened in August. It includes a therapeutic pool equipped with a stairway as well as a hydraulic lift for those with mobility challenges.
The Cardiovascular Specialists group in Falmouth will move into the second floor of the building, allowing the cardiologists much more convenient access to their hospitalized patients.