AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- It's a big change for people in Central Maine: Saturday morning, the new Maine General Medical Center will open in Augusta.
The 192 bed hospital will combine the inpatient treatment of both of Maine General's existing Waterville and Augusta facilities. But the people who manage MGMC say it will bring new tools and a whole new level of service and care.
It is a huge project. The new building fills a large field beside Interstate 95. The front entrance is covered by a gigantic wood-framed canopy, and connects to a three story glass atrium.
Outside, there is a large "serenity garden" with fountain and waterfall.
But the top managers say the best things about the new hospital are how it will help patients. Besides the latest technology, the hospital will now have all single-patient rooms.
CEO Chuck Hays says that will reduce the risk of infections passing around, and help patients recover more quickly. Rooms are also designed to accommodate families, even for overnight stays.
Hospital staff members have been practicing in the new building for several months, getting ready for the big move on Saturday. That move will include transferring about 140 patients from the two existing hospitals to the new one.
The new Maine General cost $312 million, according to Hays. Renovations to the Waterville facility will cost another $10 million. The Harold Alfond Foundation provided $35 million of that. Other donations added $12 million so far, and Maine General had saved another $35 million to invest in the project. The balance is being rolled into a mortgage that will be paid off over time.
Hospital staff members say patient costs will not increase because of the new facility. And CEO Chuck Hays says they believe the new building will be more efficient, and that, along with better patient care, will allow them to save money over time.