Wareham Selectmen vote to support Tobey Hospital expansion on Jan. 31

Jan 29, 2019

Wareham Selectmen voted unanimously on Tuesday night to support the expansion of Tobey Hospital at a public hearing which will take place on Jan. 31 at the Town Hall Auditorium.

At the hearing, Southcoast Health will seek approval to tear down the historic Tobey Homestead, located at 43 High St., and expand the hospital’s emergency department. With approval from his fellow Selectmen, Chair Alan Slavin will speak in favor of the project.

The New Bedford-based hospital system first announced plans for the multi-million project in 2017. That same year, members of the town-appointed Historical Commission and Historic District Commission explored options for preserving the building; but ultimately, Southcoast Health decided not to incorporate the homestead in its expansion plans as the structure was not suitable for treating patients.

Built in 1825, Tobey Homestead is named after the hospital’s benefactor and namesake, Alice Tobey Jones. In 1985, a fire nearly destroyed the building, however, residents rallied to raise funds and refurbish the local landmark, which is on the National Historic Register. 

The building’s status requires Southcoast Health officials to secure a “certificate of hardship” from the town’s Historic District Commission. If approved, Southcoast Health will be one step closer to its expansion plans. 

“I’m sad to see it go,” said Selectman Patrick Tropeano during Tuesday night’s meeting. “A lot of work went into restoring that building, but it just didn’t work out.”

“If we still want to have a hospital in ten years, this is something we need to do,” added Selectman Peter Teitelbaum.

The public hearing is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. All are welcome to attend.

To learn more about the expansion, click here.