January 21, 2020

EMHS selects architect, contractor

BREWER – Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems has selected the architect and general contractor for the second building in its planned complex on Whiting Hill that will house a $42 million CancerCare of Maine center and the Maine Institute for Human Genetics and Health.

Portland-based SMRT Inc. was selected from among five firms that submitted applications to design the second of four planned buildings in the Brewer Professional Center.

SMRT is an architecture, engineering and planning firm with offices in Portland and Troy, N.Y.

Five companies applied for the construction manager’s job, and EMHS selected Barr & Barr Inc. of New York. The construction management firm has eight offices throughout the Northeast, including a Brunswick office.

Both SMRT and Barr & Barr have experience with health care facilities, but neither returned phone calls Thursday.

The first structure in the complex, the $20 million Cianchette Building, is owned by and was constructed in 2004 by Cianbro Corp. of Pittsfield. It is leased to EMHS, which has moved its corporate offices to the building. The building is on a 72-acre campus owned by EMHS at the top of Whiting Hill near the Interstate 395 end of Dirigo Drive.

EMHS is the parent company of Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor and various other health care organizations in the area.

The precise cost of building the second building in the Brewer complex has not been disclosed, but EMHS has said the four-story building project will house a new $42 million CancerCare of Maine facility that will replace the current cancer treatment center at EMMC in Bangor.

The hospital gained state approval in July to expand its facilities and relocate CancerCare to Brewer with conditions that required reducing original plans to borrow 80 percent of the money.

The new agreement allows 61 percent to be borrowed, EMMC spokeswoman Jill McDonald said Thursday.

D’arcy Main-Boyington, Brewer’s economic development director, said Thursday she is pleased to see the second structure moving forward. “It’s going to be fantastic for the city.”

Maine Institute for Human Genetics and Health, a partnership among EMHS, the University of Maine in Orono, and The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, began more than a year ago and has a temporary home in the Cianchette Building.

The genetics lab is working on research that addresses aging and chronically ill populations in rural Maine.

The current CancerCare facility in Bangor has seen a 66 percent increase in its patient load since 1997, and serves about 250 patients a day from all over the region.

The relocated cancer treatment center will offer improved privacy for patients and more cancer-fighting and analyzing equipment.

Original plans for Brewer Professional Center called for four buildings constructed basically as mirror images of one another. Those plans have been slightly modified for the second building, Main-Boyington said.

“They’re certainly going to try and construct it so it blends with the other one, but fundamentally this is a different type of building,” she said. “It’s [for] patient care, not office space. It will be a much warmer, patient-type building.”

The concept for the second building should be completed in the spring and construction should begin in mid-2007 with a 2009 completion date.

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