Baystate Medical Center readies $208M ‘hospital of the future’ with 18 operating rooms, eight laboratories

Baystate Medical Center will begin work over the next few months on its $208 million buildout of unfinished space once dubbed the “Hospital of the Future.” Now called the MassMutual Wing, the 640,000-square-foot, seven-floor addition already has Baystate’s emergency departments and the Davis Family Heart & Vascular Center. The project — which got approval from the state Department of Public Health in December — will go out to bid in the next few weeks, said Kirsten Waltz, Baystate Health’s director of facilities planning and design.

Work she described as infrastructure, including an electrical power upgrade and work on air handling and elevators, will begin in March and April.

The new operating and intervention rooms will be in a block of space on the second floor of the MassMutual Wing at the base of the three towers.

Baystate named the Hospital of the Future the Mass Mutual Wing in January 2012 as part of the Baystate Health Foundation campaign for the Hospital of the Future.

Tejas R. Gandhi, Baystate Health’s chief operating officer, said construction on the space begins after that work is complete and will wrap up in the summer of 2022. He said Baystate’s plan is to open the new space for use 19 months from now at about Labor Day 2022.

“It’s exciting because for the next 12 to 18 months we will be the biggest project in Western Mass.,” Gandhi said in an interview this week. ”We are working very intensely and deliberately to create as many jobs as we can locally.”

To put the project in perspective, the CRRC rail car factory in East Springfield cost $95 million to build before it opened in 2018. MGM Springfield cost $960 million to build before it opened the same year.

Gandhi estimated the Baystate project could create as many as 300 construction jobs. Waltz said Baystate is aggressively looking for minority-owned contractors and women-owned contractors.

The work will finish and develop 100,000 square feet of space in a decade-old addition, space left unfinished with only exterior walls, concrete floors and steel ceilings.

Into that warehouse-like space, Baystate will add 18 operating rooms to replace ones in the Daly Building that are about 40 years old, Gandhi said.

Last year, Baystate told state regulators that its 1980s operating rooms are too small, lack a sufficient number of pre- and post-operative bays and support space, and are fitted with specialized equipment nearing the end of its useful life.

Baystate told the state it wanted to co-locate the new operating rooms with heart and vascular operating rooms and critical care beds that were approved in 2018.

The project also involves replacing four catheterization labs and two electrophysiology labs, and adding a neurovascular lab and a “flex” lab.

In paperwork submitted to the state last year, Baystate said it needs the space to treat strokes, aneurysms, vasculitis and other blockages in the arteries in the brain and carotid artery. And it needs the ability to do procedures on different people at the same time.

Gandhi said Baystate needs the new labs and operating rooms to keep up with advancing technology and with need.

“It’s pivotal for our strategy and it’s pivotal for our clinical care delivery to provide the latest and greatest care,” he said.

Visitors will see some work outside, Waltz said, specifically when crews are using cranes to work on the roof. But Gandhi said Baystate won’t have construction trailers on the campus, instead using shell space that’s for future expansion as temporary construction office and staging areas.

After this project, Baystate will still have three unused floors of about 30,000 square feet each. Gandhi said the plan is to build hospital rooms there in the future, but no date is set.

The state first approved a certificate of need for the Hospital of the Future in 2007, according to Baystate. The exterior shell of the MassMutual wing with 126 private patient rooms and 6 heart and vascular operating rooms opened in March 2012. The new emergency department opened in December of 2012. in the south wing, 96 private patient rooms and a pharmacy opened in June 2016. The pediatric procedure and infusion space opened in November 2017.

There is shell space left for about 92 private hospital room and the date of that project — the sixth phase of construction, has not yet been determined.