Whittier Health Network Breaks Ground on 123-Bed Skilled Nursing Facility

Whittier Health Network and Nauset Construction broke ground on July 20, 2016 and construction is now underway for the new Port Healthcare Center, a 123-bed skilled nursing facility that will replace the antiquated existing building with an expanded and modernized healthcare center. In addition to long-term residential care for elderly residents, the new facility will provide short-term accommodations for those requiring rehabilitative and sub-acute care services following surgical procedures such as hip and knee replacements. 

The ceremony was attended by Mayor of Newburyport Donna D. Holaday, representatives from owner/developer Whittier Health Network, construction manager Nauset Construction, architect Ranere Associates, Patrick Sullivan, President of People’s United Bank Massachusetts, and other local officials and community members, as well as the facility’s residents and members of their families.

With the construction of this new facility, Whittier will be able to continue to provide our residents and rehabilitative patients with the highest quality care in a pristine setting,” said Alfred J. Arcidi, Senior Vice President at Whittier Health Network. 

Designed by Reading, MA-based Ranere Associates Inc., the 62,000 square foot, two-story building will be constructed on the site of the existing parking lot, and will not only expand the capacity of the current 100 bed facility (which earned a Five Star rating in 2014 from Nursing Home Compare, a program run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services), but will allow for an even greater level of quality patient care while upgrading the center’s safety, security and communication systems. Following completion, residents will be transferred to the new building while the existing facility will be demolished to make way for a new parking lot. 

Ranere has been consulting with Whittier since 1987, and has designed six new healthcare facilities as well as additions and renovations to their existing buildings. “We strive to make each building more sophisticated than the last,” said Ron Ranere, President of Ranere Associates. “Walking into one of our healthcare lobbies is more like walking into a hotel than a medical facility.” 

The new healthcare center will feature amenities such as private and semiprivate rooms (complete with private toilets), a beauty salon, a music/library room, community and private dining rooms, a meeting and teleconference facility, well-appointed occupational and physical therapy rooms, as well as exterior patios. State-of-the-art fire alarm, nurse-call security systems, and fully automatic fire suppression systems will also be installed throughout the building. The steel and concrete two-story structure will be clad with Werzalit resinous bonded wood siding. Nauset will also construct an elegantly landscaped ground level parking area where the original building once stood.

Constructing a new building in close proximity to an occupied and operational healthcare facility requires that all construction activities be well-planned, coordinated and executed in a proactive and sensitive manner. “Although the new building will be separate from the existing structure, anytime you’re working in a skilled nursing or related healthcare environment, certain processes and procedures are necessary to be put in place by the construction manager to minimize disruptions to the residents, patients and staff,” said Nauset Construction President Anthony Papantonis. “At Nauset Construction we bring a wealth of experience working in occupied healthcare settings and understand the safety and patient awareness requirements.” 

People’s United Bank provided $17 million in funding for the Center. “We are proud to continue our support for Whittier Health Network and thrilled to be able to be a part of such a worthwhile project,” said Patrick Sullivan, President of People’s United Bank Massachusetts. “Port Healthcare Center is going to have a great impact on the community, its residents and patients, and their families who will be able to rest easy knowing that their loved ones are being well cared for.”

The project is anticipated to be completed by the fall of 2017.

Ranere Associates 
Founded in 1990 by Ron Ranere, Ranere Associates, Inc. is a full service architectural and interior design firm located in Reading MA, with a focus on healthcare, office buildings, hospitality, retail, and residential markets. http://www.rai-architects.com/

About Nauset Construction
Nauset Construction is a construction management and design-build firm run by industry veterans with a shared goal of providing an unparalleled positive client experience. Nauset excels at complex projects on challenging sites with aggressive time and budget requirements – often in sensitive, occupied and operational environments. Proactive decisions are made based on years of proven experience while orchestrating project-team cooperation and collaboration to inherent unforeseen challenges. Taking a collaborative approach throughout the project cycle, Nauset provides creative ideas and alternative methods that reduce cost and increase value to its clients, while creating lasting relationships. More information can be found at: www.nausetconstruction.com

Photo, from left to right:
Peter Binette – Building Commissioner
Christopher LeClaire – Chief of Newburyport Fire Dept.
Mark Murray – Marshal of Newburyport Police Dept.
Michael Arcidi – Vice President of Operations, Whittier Health Network
Ron Ranere – President, Ranere Associates
Donna D. Holaday – Mayor of Newburyport
James Kelcourse – MA State Representative
Philip Arcidi –Treasurer, Whittier Health Network
Patrick Sullivan – President, People’s United Bank Massachusetts
Benjamin Goldfarb – Vice Presient, Nauset Construction