by Tom Quinlan
Urgent cares are called that for a reason. The need for care is immediate, the sooner the better. The same can be said for the buildout of urgent care centers. Even before Covid, the need to provide emergency care outside a hospital was prevalent. Our company has been fortunate to be part of the effort to bring that to residents of Southeastern Massachusetts and parts of Rhode Island.
Over the last few years, we have been the general contractor on six new urgent care centers for Southcoast Health at locations in Dartmouth, Fall River, Lakeville, Seekonk and Fairhaven, Mass. and Middletown, R.I. On average, the buildout for those centers took six to eight weeks, with an average square footage of around 8,500.
That’s not to say these renovations are cookie cutter. Far from it. Each involved some specialized, intricate work. That included exam rooms, clean rooms, bathrooms, X-ray rooms, reception areas, offices, labs, vendor and provider spaces, and waiting rooms.
Additionally, each buildout project featured custom millwork, AD sliding door systems, new hospital grade air exchange systems, and other hospital grade finishes. Each facility also had to meet the requirements of Southcoast Health’s X-ray equipment as well as all of its fixturing requirements. Yet the importance of these facilities and the success of the urgent care model was made clear by Southcoast Health president and CEO, Keith A. Hovan, at the grand opening ceremony: “Our urgent care centers are especially important now that we are living in an age where our patients have truly become health care consumers. Patients want high quality care when they need it. Our urgent care centers deliver on those expectations.”
That thought process – that patients have become health care consumers – is not lost on other commercial property owners who lease out space for medical offices. Case in point, the Stetson Medical Center at 541 Main Street, South Weymouth, Mass. Stetson is owned by Healthcare Trust of America, the largest dedicated owner and operator of medical office buildings in the U.S., comprising more than 25.4 million sq. ft.
At the end of March, our firm began an interior renovation of 1,653sf of office space at Stetson Medical Center. This project presented a few challenges. First, the renovation is taking place during a pandemic. Second, the Stetson Medical Center is an occupied space.
All that said, it emphasizes the point that property owners realize the importance of upgrading a medical office to be able to provide the needed medical care and be aesthetically pleasing to consumers.
This particular buildout involves new wall configurations, doors and hardware (slider door system), millwork, ACT, glass, specialties, flooring, paint and new mechanical-electrical-plumbing upgrades, including additional bathrooms.
During this pandemic, the medical community has truly risen to the occasion on all fronts. As a GC fortunate enough to serve this industry, it is our pleasure and privilege to do our work with the same diligence and efficiency.
Tom Quinlan is the president of South Coast Improvement Company.