The Lawrence Memorial Hospital board of trustees on Wednesday approved the purchase of two additional facilities that hospital leaders say will help ease the burden on LMH’s heavily trafficked main campus.
The properties, a chiropractor’s office and a now-shuttered dental clinic located along the 300 block of Maine St., will add a few thousand square feet to the LMH system, Joseph Pedley, the hospital’s chief financial officer, told the board Wednesday.
“Possibly the best part of it is they come, between the two of them, with almost 35 parking spaces,” Pedley added, eliciting a few laughs from his colleagues.
Parking space — or the lack thereof — has been an ongoing issue at LMH for several years now, amplified more recently by continuing growth at the hospital, 325 Maine St.
As of last November, 76 percent of the hospital’s revenue was generated by outpatient services, meaning the majority of LMH clients are using the facility’s parking lots on a more frequent basis, by definition, than those receiving inpatient care. To this end, the hospital hired a parking consultant last fall, and in late 2016 approved a budget that allocated $175,000 for the addition of 55 new parking spaces this year.
Aside from parking, the new properties will also provide more space for LMH’s growing ranks of physicians and health care providers.
“The impetus behind that is to create as much space on our campus integrated with our facility for clinicians as we can,” said Russell Johnson, LMH president and CEO. “We haven’t really finalized how we’re going to populate those facilities. We have more than enough need, but the idea is to allow the work that we’re doing on the fourth floor, the Fourth Street Medical Pavilion and other clinicians to either grow or expand or newly come into that space.”
Janice Early, the hospital’s vice president of marketing and communications, said the properties will likely be used for office space, which would free up other areas around the LMH campus for clinical use.
LMH is offering $655,000 for both buildings, which are owned by the same party, Pedley said. The contract close date is set for late April, after which LMH can begin minor renovations on the buildings.