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Heywood Hospital Opens Watkins Center for Public Tours and Ribbon-Cutting

November 20, 2010

Heywood Hospital opened the doors to the new Watkins Center for Emergency and Acute Care for public tours and a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, November 20.

The new 72,000 square-foot facility includes a new Emergency Department, a Cat Scan (CT) Suite, and two floors of private room inpatient space. The center was named for the Watkins Family Foundation in honor of Edward G. “Chris” and Karen Watkins, who pledged $ 7 million to the project.

Speakers during the event included Daniel P. Moen, President and CEO of Heywood , Daniel Asquino, Ph. D., President of Mount Wachusett Community College and Chairman of the Heywood Hospital Board of Trustees, James A. Faust, MD, Chairman of the Next Century Campaign, and Hospital Board member, John Skrzypczak, MD, Medical Director of the Emergency Department and Co Chair of the Physician Campaign for the Watkins Center, and Mayor Mark Hawke, Senator Stephen Brewer, Senator Jennifer Flanagan, and Representative Anne Gobi. Reverend David Cote gave the invocation and blessing of the new building.

A number of the speakers highlighted the extraordinary support of Chris Watkins and the Watkins family, and noted that the project would not have begun without that support.

The inpatient floors of the new facility include all private rooms for patients with daybeds for family to stay with them, and new state-of the art medication delivery and nurse call systems. Tour leaders pointed out features that are focused on providing patient and family centered care – a major goal of the Hospital in the expansion.

"We’re not just changing where we care for patients, but even more importantly how that care is delivered. Our community deserves these beautiful, comfortable, spacious rooms and the latest in technology," said Moen. "This is a big step forward for Heywood and will position the Hospital for a strong future," he added.

The lower level of the Watkins Center includes the new 20-bed Emergency Department, a CT Suite with two CT machines, and Emergency X-Ray, and Ultrasound rooms. One half of a story up to the Ground Level is a new Hospital Aid Gift Shop, and a new entrance to the Family Pharmacy, a private outpatient pharmacy. On the First Floor is Watkins I and the ICU with 19 Telemetry ( heart monitoring) beds and a 6-bed Intensive Care Unit. The top floor of the new building is Watkins II which contains 25 Medical Surgical beds.

The DPH ( Department of Public Health) survey of the new building is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, November 23, 2010. The Hospital hopes to open the new building for patients as soon as December 1, transitioning Emergency patients as early as midnight of November 30. Inpatients would then be moved over during the day on December 1.

Ground was broken on the new facility in June of 2009, and the project was completed on time. The General Contractor was William Berry and Son Construction, a division of Suffolk, and the architectural firm was TRO Jung/Brannen.

The expected cost of the new building is $37.6 million, although the Hospital expects to come in under budget. Heywood borrowed funds, used some of its own operating funds and reserves and is working to raise $10 million for the project. To date the Hospital has raised $9,602,000 of that amount, in the Next Century Campaign under the leadership of Dr. James A. Faust.