September 2008 Download PDF

The first phase of Francis Cauffman Architects’s master plan puts a hospital and a medical office building on a new campus and rehabilitates a former industrial site. The site of the hospital expansion incorporates wetlands and trails that create a state-of-the-art healing environment.

PORTLAND, ME, September 10, 2008 – With the completion of the first phase of its new hospital, Mercy Health System of Maine builds the first new acute care hospital in the City of Portland, Maine, in over 25 years. Francis Cauffman Architects created the master plan for the 42-acre greenfield site along the Fore River, which ultimately will accommodate a 50% increase in the hospital’s clinic space. Francis Cauffman also designed the first two buildings – a $49.5 million, 151,000-square-foot short stay hospital and a $16 million, 80,000-square-foot medical office building. The new campus has a highly visible location along Interstate 295 that creates a gateway into Portland from the south and allows Mercy, the fourth largest health system in the state, to provide state-of-the-art healthcare services to the regional community.

Francis Cauffman created a master plan for growth that could be built incrementally and cost-effectively in two phases. The first phase facilities, just completed, include a short stay hospital for ambulatory surgery, inpatient surgery, maternity services, and imaging services, constructed by Gilbane Building Company. The adjacent medical office building has multiple physician practice suites and outpatient services, including Mercy’s Breast Health and hematology/oncology programs. As part of the first phase, new surface parking, internal roads, and service access points were developed on the site, including the new Fore River Parkway that is integrated with the Portland Trails system. The second phase will add an addition to the hospital building that expands the site to the north. It will contain the emergency department, medical inpatient services, additional surgery suites, ICU, and acute beds.

The move was necessary, according to Mercy, because the former hospital site was landlocked in a residential area of Portland, and the hospital had no room to grow. According to Tim Price, Vice President, Planning. at Mercy, “In addition to a lack of space, we also faced many new challenges of patient flow and adopting newer technologies in a 1942 infrastructure.  Portland has grown a great deal since then, and our patient population has increased as well. The new campus allows us to improve our services and introduce new medical technologies that we could not accommodate in our previous location.” The first phase facilities will bring many patients to the new hospital, provide better parking and infrastructure, and upgrade Mercy’s healthcare services and delivery.

The new building incorporates several features from the hospital’s former home, including the Mercy shield, which is integrated in cast stone above the new entrance; Portland red brick; and a new chapel, which features the original stained glass windows from the 1943 Mercy Hospital.

According to James Crispino, Francis Cauffman’s principal-in-charge, “We started with good physical planning as the key to Mercy’s growth. The buildings support new technologies and programs and allow for seamless future expansion on the site. We carefully oriented the buildings along a north-south axis so that all patient rooms would have views of the river.” Each of the 16 Labor/Delivery/Recovery/Postpartum suites has a Jacuzzi tub.  Hospitality touches include a lobby fireplace and intimate seating. All facilities are connected underground to facilitate communication and access.

The need to incorporate the natural environment became a central theme of the project and also dovetailed with the goal of improving the patients’ experience. The patient rooms and public areas overlook nature and have abundant light, which are evidence-based design concepts that are known to accelerate recovery.  The wetlands act like a large healing garden, visible from the interior spaces of the hospital. As part of the site’s redevelopment, the hospital’s new campus will incorporate a walking trail system designed around an existing pond, a bicycle path that follows the river’s edge, and connect to the Portland Trails, an existing recreational trail system. The interior design also reflects the natural surroundings. Neutral materials evoke Maine’s sandy beaches, and maple paneling, granite, and river rocks echo the Maine coastline.

About Francis Cauffman Architects
The largest architectural office in Philadelphia, Francis Cauffman has provided buildings for pharmaceutical companies, academic and scientific institutions, health systems, corporations, and government agencies since 1954. With a staff of more than 180 architects, planners and interior designers, the firm is widely known for buildings producing break-through research and creativity. Francis Cauffman has worked with major healthcare institutions in the Catholic Health East system, John Hopkins Hospital, Albert Einstein Medical Center and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

About Gilbane
Gilbane is a full-service construction and real estate development company comprised of Gilbane Building Company and Gilbane Development Company. The company ( is one of the nation's largest construction and program managers providing a full slate of facilities-related services for clients in the educational, healthcare, life sciences, mission-critical, corporate, sports and recreation, criminal justice and aviation markets. Gilbane’s New England Region consists of district offices located in Boston, Massachusetts; Glastonbury, Connecticut; and Manchester, New Hampshire; with regional headquarters located in Providence, Rhode Island.

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