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MassMutual donates $3M for new wing at Baystate

Date: 12/27/2011

Dec. 26, 2011

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD — The $3 million contribution made by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) to the construction of the new wing at Baystate Medical Center is not just for a new hospital, but for a “world class facility,” Roger Crandall chairman, president and CEO of MassMutual, said.

The new wing will house medical services are not “only the most modern in the region, but might be the most modern in the world,” Crandall added in his remarks made during a press conference announcing the donation on Dec. 20.

The $296 million wing is scheduled to open on March 2, 2012, and will be named The MassMutual Wing. Among its features will be the Davis Family Heart and Vascular Center, which includes six surgical/endovascular suites designed to accommodate advanced lifesaving car-diovascular procedures and 32 cardiovascular critical care rooms.

The building will also house a new emergency department.

Mark Tolosky, president and CEO of Baystate Health, said the construction is “on time and on budget.”

Tolosky explained the new wing would take the place of what is known as the East Building of the medical center complex, which was built in 1956. Staff have already been hired and trained and patients will be transferred to the new building in the spring. By 2015 all of the space for patients in the older building will be replaced by space in the new building.

Eventually the East Building will be used for administrative purposes, he added.

About 550 new permanent jobs will eventually be created by the facility and more than 400 people have been working on its construction, Crandall said.

“This is a wonderful economic opportunity for the region,” he added.

MassMutual is celebrating it 160th anniversary and Crandall said, “I’m very proud to make this contribution.”

The 600,000 square foot wing is not just an addition, but also “a replacement facility,” Tolosky said. The project has been considered for 15 years, he noted.

Charles D’Amour, who was chair of the Baystate health Board of Trustees at the time the decision was made to undertake the new wing, said “an incredible amount of thought, planning went into this project.”

He noted that when the recession hit in late 2008, the board did “reassess” the project and whether or not to continue. The board did vote to continue and ground was broken in 2009.

D’Amour called the new wing a “bright shining star.”

To date, $23 million has been raised during the capital campaign and Susan Toner, vice president for development at Baystate Health, said the public portion of the effort would begin in April. There have been 2,000 donors in the “quiet” part of the campaign and the MassMutual donation is one of four “seven-figure” gifts, she said.

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