by Terry Rogers
After purchasing the former Milford Memorial Hospital on Clarke Avenue, Nationwide Health Services made many changes to the building, updating equipment and reconfiguring some of the hallways to match the needs of their tenants. Now known as the Milford Wellness Village, the campus includes several health-related businesses, including Aquacare, Champions for Children’s Health, Polaris and more. As a result, the administration of Milford Wellness Village led members of Carlisle Fire Company on a tour, not only of the interior of the building but also behind the scenes.
“We purchased this from Bayhealth as you know in 2019 and today, we’re looking at approximately 210,000 square feet of space with much of it rented out to tenants,” Meir Gelley, CEO of Nationwide Health Systems, said. “Bob Musak is our facilities director, and he is the guy you are really going to want to get to know. We just want to be sure you have a good view of this campus.”
Gelley also explained that there is security in the building 24 hours a day and seven days each week with an office located in the same place it was during the days of Milford Memorial Hospital, in the former emergency room. After a light dinner, the firefighters broke up into several groups in order to tour the facilities.
The men were shown the freight elevator and provided details on how to move it from floor to floor in the case of an emergency. The next stop was in the boiler room where Musak explained the boilers ran on fuel oil but that they hoped to convert them to natural gas in the future as it was less expensive. He pointed out shut off valves for the boiler should there be an emergency.
“The chillers have been removed as we are putting units on the roof that don’t require them,” Musak said. “We have two main generators and if we lose power, they will kick on simultaneously and you will know when they do as they are loud. We do weekly and monthly tests as well as monthly load tests on each unit.” Musak also showed the firefighters where the shut off switches were for the generators in order to avoid issues if water was in the area.
One issue pointed out by the firefighters was that there was just one lock box located on one side of the building. After the tour, they spoke to Gelley, explaining to him that they needed boxes in multiple locations considering the size of the building. This would allow them to access the area of the building with a problem much more quickly.
“Many of you recognize this as the old ER,” Musak said as they walked into another section of the hospital. “This is still the security office, but this is now the PACE program for adults. They just got all their approvals, and they hope to have people in here at the end of the month.”
Inside the area was a small kitchen with steam trays, a refrigerator, microwave, stove and dishwasher. Musak explained that the stove and dishwasher were not operational and were used to help adults who may have mobility issue regain the ability to load a dishwasher or put a pan on a stove. He stated that when the building was at capacity, there could be as many as 3,500 people inside as there were two daycares as well as an assisted living facility. The group also toured the Grier Building which used to house a nursing school and later administration.
“We sometimes have smoke heads going off due to construction dust,” Musak said. “But we do test the system regularly. In some areas of the building, there are quite a few detectors and when they go off, it will be very loud in those sections. I can stand in one area and count between 9 and 15 detectors in one room.”
The tour of the building proved to be timed well. Later that evening, there was an automatic alarm at Milford Wellness Village that required fire company response although there appeared to be no emergency.
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