This hospital is closing, leaving a large gap in health care and emergency services in northwestern Massachusetts. It’s a serious issue of course, so serious that state government is intervening in order to maintain at least some level of emergency service in North Adams. Look at this series of photographs from the Berkshire Eagle documenting the changes made over time to the facility:
Here is what I see. At the point when the hospital made its largest expansion, institutional architecture in this country was at its lowest ebb, by the automobiles in the foreground I would guess the early 1950’s(Actually, 1955. Close though!). $4 million in expansion and renovation in the 80’s, and $20 million just 10 years ago included, quite obviously, some costly efforts to give the ugly brick box some ornament and a sense, at least, of architectural presence. If the original building had been built with any artistry then I could envision the renovations focusing exclusively on maintaining the facility’s ability to facilitate the delivery of modern medicine. I wonder how much the multi-deck parking garage set them back?
Beyond that, given the realities of the healthcare “industry” in the United States and the economic realities of northern Berkshire County, it seems unwise to have stretched so far to make the facility “world class” instead of focusing on long term financial stability.
(Somewhere in that room is the machine that goes “ping“.)
Small, incremental growth which moved forward at a more deliberate pace might have created a more resilient institution.