Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick will lease the former Bath Regional Career and Technical Center for six months to teach over 2,000 employees how to use the hospital’s new computer information system. File

A training program for about 2,000 Mid Coast Hospital staff will be based at the former Morse High School on High Street beginning this summer.

The town and Regional School Unit 1 will lease the former vocational center to the Brunswick-based hospital for $92,160, or $15,360 per month for six months from July through December. Bath city councilors unanimously approved the lease Wednesday.

During that time, hospital staff will attend training for Epic, a new computer information system the hospital is implementing, according to Mid Coast Hospital Facilities Director Michael Pinkham.

“It’s a $20 million project to switch the computer program and it has taken us about a year and a half to do the changeover,” Mid Coast Hospital Chief Operating Officer Joe Grant said. “We needed a space where we could have at least 18 to 20 classrooms where people could be socially distanced, and what better place than a high school.”

According to hospital spokeswoman Judy Kelsh, Epic is the electronic record system used by MaineHealth.  Transitioning Mid Coast Hospital to Epic is “one of the foremost factors in Mid Coast–Parkview Health’s decision to merge with MaineHealth last year.”

“Having one integrated health record that can be accessed by clinicians throughout the MaineHealth system will better serve the needs of our patients by providing shared technology and pathways of care,” Kelsh wrote in a statement Thursday. “Having a single health record for all services will help providers ensure the highest quality of care, especially since many of our patients receive care at multiple sites within the system.”

Kelsh said the hospital plans to launch Epic this fall.

The former Morse High School has sat largely unused since students moved to the newly-constructed Morse High School off Wing Farm Parkway in February. Although RSU 1 owns the former school now, it plans to turn the building over to the city in August. The city has been considering how to reuse the former school since summer 2019.

Assistant City Manager Marc Meyers told councilors leasing part of the building to Mid Coast Hospital “was not part of the redevelopment program.”

“This is an opportunity where Mid Coast Hospital was looking for classroom space for this training and it just so happened to coincide with the spaces that are available at Morse and the vocational center,” Meyers said.

Council Chairman Aaron Park said leasing the space to the hospital would help offset the “substantial costs involved in taking care of the old Morse High School as it transitions into the city’s care.”

Once the property is transferred over to the city, redevelopment of the former school will become the municipality’s responsibility.  While ideas have been tossed around, the city has not made any final decisions on what do do with the building.

Most recently, the city has faced the need to replace its ailing and failing fire and police stations, and the former school may play a role in that effort.

In February, an architect hired by the city to conduct a study on the two stations, proposed knocking down a section of the former Morse High School and building a new, larger fire station on the site.

The city council will meet for a workshop next month to discuss next steps.

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