New Emergency Center celebrated at ribbon cutting

May 23, 2022

Southcoast Health officials, donors and community leaders gathered Monday to celebrate Tobey Hospital’s new Baldwin Makepeace Emergency Center at a ribbon-cutting event.

The crowd gathered in front of the new center, listening to speakers who stood behind a podium made in part from architectural details salvaged from the Tobey Homestead.

The new center will open early on Wednesday morning. Until then, those needing emergency care should go to the hospital’s main entrance on High Street.

Renee Clark, the organization’s chief operating officer, kicked off the ceremony in place of President Ray Kruger, who was unable to come.  

“[The Emergency Center] continues our vision of creating exceptional health care close to home,” Clark said. She thanked the clinical staff at the hospital who she said worked diligently and flexibly during the construction process.

Southcoast Board Chair Lou Cabral described the new emergency center as the piece that had been missing from Tobey Hospital. He said the board pushed to continue the project, even as some were advised that it would be better to wait. 

“As you walk through this incredible new facility, please keep in mind that it was constructed in the middle of a global pandemic, with major laborer shortages, supply chain disruptions and significant price escalations,” said Cabral. “And yet, our general contractor, Suffolk Construction … have delivered an outstanding facility.” 

Vice-chair of the Board Don Giumetti said the new center helps fulfill Alice Tobey’s vision from years ago. She bequeathed $250,000 when she died in 1922 for the purpose of building a hospital.

“I think Alice Tobey has tears in her eyes this morning,” Giumetti said, and not because the homestead was demolished. “It was her vision almost 100 years ago. It’s here today.”

Dr. Sarah Bernier, who works in the emergency room, said she was wowed by the design of the facility, calling it “straight out of HGTV,” and pledged to provide the best possible care in the new space.

Judith Whiteside, chair of the Select Board, thanked Southcoast for providing world-class, dignified care to residents of Wareham and surrounding towns. 

Margie Baldwin, of the Baldwin family the center was named for, spoke about her father-in-law’s involvement with the hospital. He led the campaign to build the former emergency room in the 1980s. 

“We always referred to Tobey as the jewel in the crown, and this new ER has added to that luster,” Baldwin said of the Southcoast Health system.

Chris Makepeace said his grandfather was one of those chosen by Alice Tobey to establish the hospital, and his father served on the board for many years. 

“We are very fortunate to be able to pay their legacy forward,” Makepeace said, thanking those who supported the effort and describing the hospital as the backbone of the community.