Work begins on Tobey Hospital expansion

Sep 4, 2020

Construction of the new emergency room at Tobey Hospital has begun in earnest, and the project is set to be complete in the fall of 2021.

The emergency room expansion will dramatically increase the capacity of the department, which currently sees about twice the patient volume it was designed to accommodate.

“Work on the project was briefly delayed by the pandemic, but is back underway, and we hope to have this state-of-the-art facility, quadrupling the current emergency department’s size, ready for Greater Wareham residents in about a year from now,” said Shawn Badgley, the public information officer for Southcoast Hospitals.

The renovations will increase the emergency room to 25,000 square feet, including 27 treatment rooms — six of which will be specially designed for those experiencing mental health or substance abuse disorders.

The new facility will be able to accommodate 40,000 patients annually. Currently, Tobey Hospital sees 30,000 patients in its emergency department each year, which was built in 1987 to accommodate 15,000 patients annually.

The expansion is a $25 million project, which hospital officials hope will be completed in late 2020.

The Tobey Homestead was demolished in August of 2019 to make way for the expansion, which will extend almost to Main Street. Tobey Homestead was built in 1825 and belonged to Alice Tobey Jones, the hospital’s benefactor and namesake.

The expanded emergency room will be one story, with a two-story lobby. It was designed to, in part, pay homage to the Homestead, with design features including brick, stone, the color white, and columns. There will also be a seating area for families and visitors, dubbed the Tobey Cafe, which will include historical information about the Tobey family and some salvaged pieces of the Homestead.

The extension would also require all emergency room traffic, including ambulances, to drive down Main Street and enter through a driveway located at the same place as the current Homestead driveway. The planned one-level parking lot contains roughly the same number of spots as the current emergency room lot. The parking lots accessible from High Street will stay open.