To kick off National Preparedness Month, we're bringing news of an exciting development on Nantucket. As construction of the new Nantucket Cottage Hospital continues, the building’s elements are designed to withstand change—a dramatic seasonal-to-year-round population fluctuation, the evolving health care landscape, and (literally) the winds of change. The 106,000 square foot hospital, slated to open by the end of this year, will adhere to some of the strictest hurricane design specifications in the country—exceeding the requirements of Massachusetts and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The building plan, which includes mesh fortified concrete footings, redundant systems, and special water and vapor barriers, accounts for both the devastation of recent hurricanes in cities across the country, and the unique position of this hospital on an island 30 miles off the coast, where it must be self-sustaining in the event of a weather emergency.
“The term is resiliency,” notes David B. Kelly, senior associate with the building’s designer, Boston architectural firm Cannon Design. “It’s survivability.”
The new hospital will have enough food for 7-10 days and generator fuel for several days—critical when natural disasters limit boats to and from the island. Once a hurricane hits, it’s too late to transport patients—which makes the hospital’s continuity vital. Dennis Patnaude, Nantucket Cottage Hospital’s facilities director, says it would take a truly catastrophic event to cripple the state-of-the-art building.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be involved in a complete hospital replacement,” he says. “It is designed to meet or exceed all applicable codes.”