Herbst: Medical facility one of the most important projects in town history

A “comprehensive outpatient” medical facility is in the works for Park Avenue in Trumbull, close to the Bridgeport line.

Norman G. Roth,  Chief Operating Officer of Bridgeport Hospital and Senior Vice President of Yale New Haven Health System discussed the plans Wednesday morning at the town’s annual Business Appreciation Breakfast, hosted by the Trumbull Economic and Community Development Commission.

“This is one of the most important projects in town history,” First Selectman Timothy Herbst said at the event.

The project, slated for 5520 Park Ave., includes about 200,000 square feet of medical office space, including 10,000 square feet for a Radiation Oncology center, that will be affiliated with the Smilow Cancer Center in New Haven. The building will also house a diagnostic radiology and surgical services. The project will use the existing building, about 80,000 square feet, and build the rest.

“What this center will provide is a full spectrum of medical health care services,” Roth said in his presentation “and improve our outpatient services.”

The campus will include a 518-car parking garage, which is located on the Bridgeport side.

Roth said the project is a way to expand outpatient services and provide more convenient location for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and other treatment.

“We will have comprehensive cancer care,” Roth said. “And we will be adding significant clinical trials to promote the latest in cancer care.”

The building will also be home to a pediatric specialty center, that will be part of Yale New Haven.

Other programs slated for the building include primary care, ambulatory surgery, a breast care center and general surgery and plastic surgery.

Significant effort has been put into the design of the building, according to Roth’s presentation. There will be a healing garden built, with a donation from the Norma Pfriem Foundation.

“It provides a spectacular element of bringing a healing environment to a health care setting,” Roth said.

The center is located off exit 47 of the Merritt Parkway, and plans include re-doing the intersection by the highway entrances, creating what Roth called “an effective rotary system.”

The project has received approvals from Trumbull and Bridgeport boards and construction on the parking garage will begin this summer.

“By March or April of 2014 we hope to break ground on the medical office building,” Roth said.

Roth said they hope to occupy the building by December 2015.

Other business

While Roth’s presentation was a focal point of the breakfast, the event also took time out to honor Jim Abraham, a former member of the town Economic and Community Development Commission, who died of lung cancer May 22. Commission Chair Scott Wich said Abraham always served the town with honesty, dignity and professionalism.

“In the very best sense of the word he was a gentlemen and he will be missed,” Wich said.

The breakfast also discussed future growth.

The first selectman noted Trumbull’s recent growth in the medical and health sectors, citing the opening of New Road Fitness, an expansion of St. Vincent’s Medical Center, and the opening of the Medical Center of Fairfield County at 112 Quarry Road, built by R.D. Scinto.

The town has worked to become more business-friendly, Herbst said, by streamlining the permitting process and offering tax incentives.

He also discussed the Town Council’s recent approval of participation in the state’s Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy program (C-PACE).

The program helps commercial, industrial and multi-family property owners access affordable, long-term financing for energy upgrades.

Herbst also took questions from the audience including one about when new restaurants will be coming to town.

“We have three under construction right now,” Herbst said. “There are two or three others we’re actively had conversations with about coming to Trumbull. We’re in ‘wait and see’ mode.”