Cooley Dickinson Hospital Stages Topping-off Ceremony For $50 Million expansion

NORTHAMPTON – Employees and physicians of Cooley Dickinson Hospital, donors to its Caring for the Future campaign, and nearly 100 members of the community embraced the hospital’s $50 million new building project recently, taking part in a ceremony to mark the hospital’s construction progress and to honor many generous campaign donors.

Cooley Dickinson Hospital’s Topping Off Ceremony provided an opportunity for community members to sign a steel beam and watch as it was lifted into place.

The event marked a milestone in a twoyear project that started last April and will add a four-story, 116,000-square-foot building to the hospital’s campus. The building will contain eight surgical suites, a wing of 32-single-occupancy patient rooms, a centralized laboratory and central sterile supply area and an expanded joint replacement center.

Craig N. Melin, CDH president and chief executive officer praised the hospital’s employees and physicians and touted the organization’s latest technology. He said the new surgery and patient-care building will be the cornerstone of care for the community.

“This facility is the means by which we will help all our talented staff and physicians to provide the care we need and deserve in the community,” Melin said.

“We’re committed to providing the best of care, and you all are helping us to do that.”

The event also served as a forum for honoring those who are committed to the project, both at Cooley Dickinson and in the wider community. William T. Stapleton, president of Northampton Cooperative Bank and David K. Scott, the former chancellor of UMass, Amherst, have been instrumental in leading the early stages of the fundraising campaign.

Scott announced that $4.25 million or half of the $8.5 milllion fundraising goal had been raised.

“This is a great achievement,” Scott said.

“We look forward to raising the next half.” Stapleton commended several groups for their support, including: the Cooley Dickinson Hospital Auxiliary, $400,000; Cooley Dickinson employees, $428,000; Cooley Dickinson physicians, $710,000; Easthampton Savings Bank, $400,000; Florence Savings Bank, $400,000; Northampton Cooperative Bank, $100,000; Smith College, $150,000; The Daily Hampshire Gazette, $150,000; The AEC Trust and the Cofrin Family, $150,000; and an anonymous family, $105,000.

Scott said community members should “give until it feels good. We all feel good about what this hospital does in the community,” he added.

Everyone who attended the ceremony had an opportunity to use a permanent marker to sign the beam that was raised into place and secured on the steel frame of the building. Melin said signing the beam gave the community a chance to be part of the hospital’s history and served as a visual reminder of the hospital and community teamwork that has made the new building possible.

Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed refreshments including a new signature ice cream flavor developed for the event called Way Cooley Cookie Chip. Steve Herrell of Herrell’s Ice Cream created the flavor that combines vanilla ice cream mixed with broken cookies and chocolate chips.

The building is expected to be completed in the spring of 2007.

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