This week, Nantucket Cottage Hospital (NCH) opened its doors to patients on a new campus, the first new hospital for the island community in more than 60 years. Built entirely through private donations, the almost $90 million, 14-bed, 106,000-square-foot hospital completely replaces Nantucket’s former facility constructed in 1957. Additionally, the new NCH sets a national standard for small community hospitals, offering state-of-the-art equipment with expanded outpatient services and increased capacity for inpatient care and surgery. The Feb. 20 opening of the new hospital provides patients with a central location for all their health care needs, including primary, emergency and specialty care, and diagnostic testing.

“Our new hospital is the incredible result of a small island community coming together to do something big,” said Margot Hartmann, MD, PhD, NCH president and CEO. “This dynamic new facility will give our patients the best of both worlds, allowing us to leverage the expertise and resources of our trusted affiliate Massachusetts General Hospital, paired with the comfort, tradition and familiarity of Nantucket’s beloved community hospital.”

As the only health care facility on the island, NCH plays a vital role in the lives of year-round residents and visitors, managing the health care needs of a community which experiences seasonal swings in population between a year-round community of approximately 17,000 residents and nearly 50,000 during the summer months.

Because the island of Nantucket is designated as an historic district, the new hospital required approvals from the island’s architectural review board. It also meets hurricane design specifications established by Miami Dade County – some of the strictest in the country – allowing it to withstand winds of more than 185 mph. All mechanical systems have been installed on the roof, rather than in a basement.

Also celebrated during the opening was the unprecedented $120 million capital campaign – the largest in Nantucket history – that allowed the new campus to be built free of debt and with no taxpayer dollars. Following the completion of the new hospital project, NCH will use the remaining capital campaign funds to build new staff housing units to help address the island’s affordable housing crisis, fulfilling the promise of the new facility.

“We felt that building a true campus with not just a cutting-edge hospital, but also on-site housing, would give us flexibility for our staff that we never had in the past,” said Bruce Percelay, chairman of the hospital’s capital campaign, whose family provided the lead $10 million gift for the new facility with the condition that the campaign would also include staff housing. “We are proud to have been a part of an island-wide effort that will change health care delivery on Nantucket for the next generation.”

Read more articles from the 02/22/19 Hotline issue.