December 14, 2012

Maine hospital depends on lone firm to get its insides up to snuff

Even vinyl wall protectors at the new north Augusta facility come from Windham Millworks.

By BETTY ADAMS Kennebec Journal

AUGUSTA – All the woodwork, countertops, sink tops, windowsills and even the protective strips along the walls and the corner protectors are coming from a single firm in Windham.

click image to enlarge

This Oct. 24, 2012 photo taken from Memorial Bridge shows the MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta.

Joe Phelan / Staff Photographer

It's all part of the emerging hospital under construction in north Augusta, where MaineGeneral Medical Center is spending $312 million to consolidate operations in a modern building.

The regional hospital is scheduled to open Dec. 7, 2013.

Earlier this month, workers from Windham Millwork Inc. unloaded prefabricated counters, countertops, cabinets and other items onto an upper floor. They are destined for the nursing and clinical stations in the patient wing and elsewhere in MaineGeneral Medical Center's new 192-bed hospital.

"I'm just an assembler," said Dan Berube, the on-site foreman for Windham Millwork, pointing to one of more than 90 stations. The solid surface, antimicrobial-coated countertops arrive with cutouts for electrical and computer wiring connections. "For the most part, it's all pre-made."

The items are precut in the Windham manufacturing plant and need some fitting and filling.

"There's a lot of preparation," he said. "It's a big item. The planning is what makes it work out good."

Windham Millwork's share of the hospital project is scheduled to be completed in June 2013, six months before the anticipated opening day.

The cabinets and woodwork are delivered to the site in quantities of about a half dozen or so, allowing the crews to install them as they arrive. "I try to manage the crews so there's not too much stuff that it's in everybody's way," Berube said.

The 10 installers receive shipments twice a week, and recently Berube literally was handling the deliveries while tethered to a safety device as he reached out an upper-floor opening to guide in the pallets of products. He's also the runner, chasing down missing parts and checking details.

Along with a copy of the installation drawings taped to the wall at each station, workers also have guides in the form of floor stencils everywhere, indicating what goes where.

"You walk into a room and the layout of the room is on the floor," said Tim Nunn, vice president of sales for Windham Millwork.

While some rooms remain as metal-framed shells, others have sinks, cabinetry and even a vinyl wall protector on the wall behind the patient bed.

In the more finished areas, Nunn points to some of the 85,000 square feet of vinyl wall protector.

"It's something you wouldn't think a millwork company would do," he said. "But why not? We're here."

For Windham Millwork, the $5.2 million casework contract with the hospital is its largest ever, and four times the contract it held to do similar work at the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care, which is on the same campus as the MaineGeneral Medical Center's new hospital. Berube was chief of the installation crew there as well.

The firm also did the carpentry and millwork in the Maine Senate chamber at the State House and work on dormitories and a dining hall at Waterville's Colby College. It will be working on the new computer science center there as well, said one of Windham Millwork's owners, Chad Pulkkinen.

While a number of other firms joined with others to bid on such a large project, Windham Millworks was large enough to do the interior casework by itself.

"I think they've always been a great partner for us, and we continue to focus on employing Maine people," said Chuck Hays, president and chief executive officer of MaineGeneral Medical Center.

 

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

badams@centralmaine.com

 

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