BIHS presents plans for Medical Center

Thu, 03/11/2021 - 6:15pm

Members of the Block Island Health Services board were invited to present plans to the Town Council for future renovation and expansion of the B.I. Medical Center. The board met with the council on Wednesday, March 3 to begin the discussions.

Town Manager Maryanne Crawford stated she had been informed of the plans by Block Island Medical Center Director Dr. Tom Warcup after her arrival to the island last summer.

“Soon after I started, I had met with Dr. Warcup and he, at that time, told me the Medical Center was in a process of a capital campaign for major upgrades, renovations and expansions of the medical facility,” said Crawford. “Since that time I have met with the building committee on a couple of occasions.

“The Medical Center is ripe to come forward to the council as to where they are with their capital plan, their renovations, the anticipated construction time and how they plan to proceed with that,” Crawford said.

The BIHS board prefaced their presentation with a letter dated March 3 that said: “The BIHS board has been working for several years on a strategic plan and Capital Campaign fundraising effort to meet the healthcare needs of our community now and well into the future. An important component of that strategic plan is to expand and renovate the Medical Center building to provide more and better clinical care space for both primary and wellness care and emergency care, as well as housing.”

Dr. Warcup and Board Secretary Susan Stover, presented a sketch of the building’s street side with a second floor added above the extra rooms. The two-story addition would house increased space for housing for the medical residents, students and specialists. Renovations to the basement and first floor will increase space for exam and trauma rooms, and create a space dedicated to dentistry. BIHS Board Chair Cindy Baute and Board Vice Chair Ray Torrey were also attending the meeting.

“Several years ago the strategic planning efforts pointed out we needed to do some substantial renovations and expansion of the building to meet the needs for emergency care, as well as primary and wellness care for the entire community for islanders, people who live here, and for visitors,” said Stover. “We worked with both Dr. Mark Clark and now Dr. Warcup to determine what the needs are for our clinical space. Right now, the space where we treat trauma patients is woefully inadequate.”

“I do want to point out that we are funding this privately,” added Stover. “We are in a capital campaign, and it has been a rather quiet capital campaign for the last two years. We took a pause during Covid-19, but we have, so far, from about 50 donors raised nearly $3,000,000 in pledges and quite a lot of that money has already been paid.”

“I really hope that this is the beginning of a conversation with the community - to convince everyone that we all need to make a meaningful contribution to this effort,” added Stover. “This is not a want, this is a need. We want everyone to be involved in this.”