DHMC files growth plan

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 11/18/2019 10:00:43 PM

LEBANON — Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center plans to add more space for new patient beds as part of its $130 million expansion, according to formal plans filed last week with the Lebanon planning department.

And the 212,000-square-foot expansion could add more than 2,500 trips a day on the busy Route 120 corridor.

Lebanon officials are in the beginning stages of reviewing the site plan for DHMC’s proposed five-story patient tower. Though at first 64 new beds would be built, the plans include sufficient space to double that number, according to the Nov. 12 filing with the city.

This is roughly 17,000 additional square feet and 16 more beds than DHMC, which currently has 396 beds, had proposed to city officials during a conceptual review in September.

At that time, Planning Board members said they understood the need for the expansion, given the medical needs of the region. Some were concerned, however, about parking.

The expansion is expected to lead to DHMC hiring an additional 300 employees. Their commutes, and the additional patients, could add 2,504 trips a day to the Lebanon medical center, 1,252 entering and 1,252 exiting, according to a traffic study DHMC filed with its site plan application.

Instead of a parking garage as DHMC had initially proposed when it announced the project last December, officials are working to expand a staff parking lot, Lot 9, which is located in Hanover near Jesse’s Steakhouse.

A shuttle, run by Advance Transit through a contract with Dartmouth-Hitchcock, carries employees from the lot to the hospital and back again, according to the traffic study. The shuttle runs every 10 minutes from 6:15 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The lot expansion aims to add 274 spots to Lot 9, bringing the total available there to 614.

In its traffic study, DHMC emphasized the work it has done to encourage employees to travel to work using methods other than single-occupancy vehicles. For example, DHMC has added bike lanes to the access roads leading to the medical center. The hospital also makes locker rooms and showers available to bike commuters. DHMC also offers designated parking spaces for carpoolers and is considering offering on-site parking for electric vehicles.

City officials are going to take an additional month for their review of the project, so the Planning Board should have what it needs to make a decision when it reviews the site plan beginning on January 13, Lebanon Planning Director David Brooks said on Monday.

In addition to the Planning Board’s review, the project will also require a local building permit, and reviews by New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services licensing and certification officials and by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

DHMC aims to begin construction in the spring of 2020 and wrap up the project in a little more than two years, according to the filing. Occupancy is planned for the summer of 2022.

Valley News Staff Writer Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at ndoyleburr@vnews.com or 603-727-3213.




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