Bristol’s finest filed the waiting area of the new Bristol Health Medical Care Center on Friday, June 7, to celebrate the grand opening of the facility, the first to be built on the site since the closing of the old Centre Mall.
President and CEO of Bristol Health, Kurt Barwis, recalled the day that the mall property was knocked down, saying that he knew it wouldn’t be long before something else was developed on the property. Like most Bristol residents, he said, it pained him “over the years to not see anything on this property.”
“And then to ultimately be a part of, to have our organization together with the city, really come to this incredible future is just- it’s an emotional and an incredible sense of pride for me,” Barwis.
Barwis said it meant so much to him personally, “and it means so much to every person in the City,” to hear about all of the additional economic development projects that were spurred by the development of the Medical Care Center over the last 13 months.
The new center houses several medical subspecialties of the Bristol Health Medical Group including cardiology, endocrinology, neurology, orthopedics, rheumatology, and urology. There are also dedicated spaces for services such as physical and occupational therapy, and laboratory services.
Mayor Ellen ZoppoSassu discussed the city logo, “All Heart,” and how it didn’t resonate with her until she began thinking about “all of the efforts that have gone into our downtown.” A downtown area is often considered the heart of a community, she said, and “for too long in downtown Bristol - spanning generations - ours has been on life support.”
“I have to say that to have Bristol Health come in and be that infusion and life support and resuscitation for what we hope to see in the future of downtown has been wonderful,” said Zoppo-Sassu.
Bristol Health and Florida-based Rendina Healthcare Real Estate partnered to develop the $26 million building.
President of Rendina Steven Barry said, “I think the medical care center is a shining example of what can be accomplished when the right team gets together with a disciplined approach on a day-to-day basis to get the right work done…This is a true partnership between Bristol Health and the City of Bristol as you know, the land was purchased from the city and your support and commitment throughout the process, Madame Mayor, has been tremendous and we really appreciate your support.”
Recently appointed chairman of the Bristol Health Board of Directors, Glenn Heiser, thanked all who had gathered on the old Centre Mall site as it was a “very exciting day.” Heiser said he and the board believed that the new Bristol Health Medical Care Center will serve as a renaissance to downtown.
“Thank you to the City of Bristol, City of Bristol departments - zoning, planning, BDA (Bristol Development Authority), engineering, public works, the mayor, the city council - for working with us hand in hand to make this project a successful event,” said John Lodovico, vice chair of the board of directors. “I want to say thank you to the Rendina Healthcare Real Estate Group for believing in Bristol, and O&G Industries constructing and general contractor, and all the variety of general contractors that were able to deliver this amazing building in thirteen months.”
MaryLynn Gagnon, executive director of the Bristol Development Foundation, explained all of the artwork displayed in the 60,000 square foot facility was created by local artists from Bristol, Southington, Farmington, Thomaston, New Britain, and beyond.
“We specifically sought out and selected local artists because we wanted to ensure that we were supporting our local communities,” said Gagnon.
More than 65 artists responded to a call for artists. Ultimately, 15 artists were chosen, featuring a range of styles that included oil painting, acrylics, mixed media, monoprints, photography, watercolors, illustrations, and ceramics.
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