Lebanon OK's $115 million Dartmouth-Hitchcock buildingBy MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent
January 16. 2013 11:18PM
LEBANON - City planners Monday night approved the construction of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center's new Williamson Translational Research Building.
The project includes a new 165,000-square-foot medical research building as well as the expansion of the medical center's existing parking.
The total project cost is $115 million, said DHMC Vice President of Facilities Management Gail Dahlstrom.
"The concept, the term translational research, is really focusing on the types of research application to clinical process as quickly as possible. . bench to bedside," Dahlstrom said.
Having the new facility on the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center campus allows for greater collaboration and innovation between the researchers and hospital physicians and other health-care providers on clinical issues such as cancer and cystic fibrosis, she said.
The plan is to shift researchers already working at Dartmouth into the new building, she said. The Dartmouth College Geisel School of Medicine has committed to hiring 75 new faculty by 2020, Dahlstrom said.
Construction of the new building is to begin early spring after state approval from the Certificate of Need Board.
The finalized plans would also have to be approved internally by the medical center's and the school of medicine's boards. The research center is to be attached to the main entrance of the hospital at One Medical Drive off Route 120 in Lebanon. The city's approval was given following changes made by the medical center's engineer to improve the traffic flow at the Route 120 intersection at the hospital campus entrance.
Planning Board member Joan Monroe said the research building is mostly for existing research staff working in other sections of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center buildings, but it was an opportunity to discuss traffic and parking issues and make adjustments.
"The hospital has been very good about trying all kinds of things and they've been very cooperative in trying to mitigate their own traffic," Monroe said.
Along with the expansion of the parking lot, two right turn or south turning lanes are planned for hospital traffic turning onto Route 120 from the campus, she said.
Dartmouth-Hitchcock is also installing video monitoring cameras where Interstate 89, at exit 18, turns onto Route 120 to improve safety.
"Because that is the most dangerous thing when you have backups on the interstate," Monroe said.
The parking expansion was called for since the hospital parking lot is now 90 percent full during the day, she said.