Maine Medical Center’s Coulombe Family Tower Expansion Now Complete

Maine Medical Center

PORTLAND, Maine—The Susan Donnell Konkel and Susan Gibson Pavilions—two new bed floors atop the Coulombe Family Tower at Maine Medical Center (MMC)—are now open, delivering 64 single-patient rooms dedicated to surgical and medical oncology care.

Patients and staff began moving into the new facility in mid-December and will continue through early 2020.

“This is a signature moment for the hospital, our patients and our care teams,” said Scot Remick, M.D., Chief of Oncology at Maine Medical Center. “MMC is committed to cancer care and needs a state-of-the-art inpatient facility like this for our medical and surgical cancer patients.”

Realizing a Long-Term Vision

In the face of growing inpatient demand, MMC partnered with Perkins and Will to identify the most efficient way to privatize rooms and increase bed capacity in the short- and long- term. The immediate solution—a vertical addition atop Coulombe Tower—has enabled the hospital to grow bed capacity without disrupting or displacing any other departments on campus. The new patient rooms can accommodate a range of clinical needs up to ICU-level care, which will give MMC the ability to adjust departmental size and location over time.

Also complete are two new helipads, which will replace the single existing helipad atop the Gilman Street Garage. By doubling medevac and air ambulance capacity, MMC is better positioned to serve its patients in remote areas of New England.

Both the Coulombe Tower expansion and the new helipads are part of MMC’s ongoing $534 million campus expansion and modernization project. The next phase of implementation includes the Congress Street Development, a new 280,000 square foot tower that will drastically increase MMC’s inpatient capacity by offering 64 single-patient beds and 19 highly adaptable surgical and procedural suites. The new facility will be nestled into a 100-foot cliff that currently divides the MMC campus; Inside, a monumental, multi-story atrium will connect entrances from the upper and lower campuses, easing campus wayfinding and establishing a new front door along Congress Street.

“Maine Medical Center had a vision to elevate the patient experience campus-wide, and they have taken careful and deliberate steps to realize that vision,” says Jeffrey Keilman, senior associate and project manager at Perkins and Will. “I’m grateful to have been a part of their strategic evolution over the past five years.”

Keilman is part of the Perkins and Will team that has executed several recent projects at MMC, including the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and the Bean Building expansion, as well as current projects like the Coulombe Family Tower Expansion and the Congress Street Development.

Human-Centered Design

The traditional bed floor configuration—a square or rectangular nursing core with patient rooms lining the perimeter—has been divided by diagonal corridors that lead to community lounge spaces, each with direct views to the Portland Harbor, the White Mountains, or the Fore River. Envisioned as places of respite from hospital activity, these new pathways are lined with birch tree graphics and built-in seating. The result is a soothing “walk in the woods” experience for patients and families with extended stays.

All rooms in the Konkel and Gibson Pavilions are completely private, elevating the healing environment through improved acoustics, hygiene, and occupant control. Private rooms also boost operational efficiency by eliminating the need for staff to coordinate treatment for multiple patients at once.

“This expansion is providing Maine Medical Center with more flexible, high-acuity beds that will enhance their ability to provide cutting-edge care,” says Chuck Siconolfi, medical planning principal at Perkins and Will. “In addition to accommodating the evolution of care, the new nursing units provide the people of Maine with best inpatient and family experience possible.”

Perkins and Will, an interdisciplinary, research-based architecture and design firm, was founded in 1935 on the belief that design has the power to transform lives. Guided by its core values—design excellence, diversity and inclusion, research, resilience, social purpose, sustainability, and well-being—the firm is committed to designing a better, more beautiful world. Fast Company named Perkins and Will one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies in Architecture, and industry rankings consistently place Perkins and Will among the world’s top design practices. With an international team of more than 2,700 professionals, the firm has over 20 studios worldwide, providing services in architecture, interior design, branded environments, urban design, and landscape architecture. Partners include Danish architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen; retail strategy and design consultancy Portland; sustainable transportation planning consultancy Nelson\Nygaard; and luxury hospitality design firm Pierre-Yves Rochon (PYR).