BAR HARBOR — The Mount Desert Island Hospital is going to get an upgrade. And, as a result, Main Street will also look a little different.
On Tuesday, hospital CEO Chrissi Maguire shared preliminary concept drawings showing a revisioning of the campus, which she says will take between two and five years to realize. It includes increased green space lining Main Street, a new dormitory for medical education students and eliminates a number of buildings both on Main Street and Stanwood Drive, the latter of which will be eliminated as a roadway in the new plan. The changes will also include a Main Street entrance and increased parking.
Maguire said that a “large, multidisciplinary group” has been working on the concept plan for the last two years aimed at advancing the mission of the hospital and to provide accessibility to care.
A major renovation, she said, will occur in the emergency services, which will almost triple in size with ambulance service coming in from Wayman Lane and foot traffic access into the emergency room. The current six emergency rooms would become 15 flexible spaces and allow the hospital to board patients needing mental health services.
There will also be a more prominent main entrance to the facility as part of the plan. “Currently, if I were to query any of you to tell me where the main entrance was for the hospital, you’d say it is our emergency department and that is not the main entrance.”
Maguire said the central utility plant will also be upgraded, expanding surgical suite and internal renovations. “We are not changing the major footprint or the aesthetics,” she said, “but we need to improve the accessibility to the hospital and take some pressure off Wayman [Lane] and Hancock [Street] and be able to come in off Main Street.”
Five buildings will need to be removed for the project, including 292, 294 and 310 Main St. and 1 and 6 Stanwood Ave. A current parking lot at 5 Stanwood Ave. will also be included in the project. Maguire said she would be open to talking to Island Housing Trust and if the houses could be saved the hospital could gift them or take another sustainable approach in their removal. Currently the buildings house traveling staff and education students as well as the Mount Desert Islander, which occupies 310 Main Street.
The project is in its preliminary phases and its timeline will be determined by available funding. Maguire said she expects to raise public and private funds to be used toward the project.