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Construction begins on new Upper Chesapeake freestanding medical center off Route 22 in Aberdeen

Construction has begun on the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health new 60-acre campus in Aberdeen, as well as work on the expansion of the hospital in Bel Air.

A flag-raising ceremony marking the start of construction took place Oct. 27 at the Aberdeen site, located off Route 22 near Target. Members of Upper Chesapeake Health were joined by the American Legion Post 39 Honor Guard and UCH’s spiritual services and ground team for the ceremony.

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UCH’s Aberdeen campus will increase access to services, coordinating efforts between hospital-based and community care providers and continuing to develop new models of care delivery supported by state-of-the-art technology, according to a news release.

The roughly 220,800-square-foot Aberdeen medical campus is expected to open in spring 2023, replacing Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre de Grace, which is slated to close after the Aberdeen facility is open and operational and expansion at the Bel Air hospital is complete.

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Harford Memorial’s medical and surgical beds, meant for long-term inpatient needs, will be consolidated with existing beds in the Bel Air hospital.

Erdman, Wisconsin-based architecture and construction firm specializing in healthcare facilities, is doing the work in both Aberdeen and Bel Air, which is estimated to cost about $228 million.

“It’s hard to imagine that 20 years ago, we were moving into the new hospital in Bel Air. Now we are ready to begin work on our new campus in Aberdeen,” said Lyle E. Sheldon, president/CEO of University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health, in a statement.

“I want to assure our community that despite the challenges of COVID-19, our medical staff and all our care providers stand united to deliver the best possible care to our community today and into the future. The lessons we have learned from this pandemic will be integrated into our planning and facility design.”

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Sheldon previously told The Aegis the timeline to open the Aberdeen medical facility would depend on a number of factors, including any residual impacts the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has on the economy.

Once completed, the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center – Aberdeen will include a behavioral health pavilion and psychiatric hospital with 33 inpatient behavioral health beds and a full array of inpatient and outpatient behavioral health services.

It will also offer a full-service Emergency Department twice the square footage of the existing ED at Harford Memorial, UCH officials said. Triage rooms, emergency treatment rooms with dedicated emergency behavioral health treatment rooms and observation beds for short-stay medical care are part of the plans for the emergency department. The facility will also include a diagnostic imaging suite, laboratory, pharmacy and other hospital support services, as well as shell space for any necessary future expansion.

The existing office building already on the campus will house medical offices for primary care and other medical and surgical specialties as well as additional outpatient services such as rehabilitation services, a comprehensive imaging center and an infusion center.

At Upper Chesapeake’s Bel Air campus, work on an outpatient building and additional parking is also under way. The parking expansion project is expected to be finished by the spring, while the outpatient building, which will include an ambulatory surgery center, is slated to open in early 2022.

Three additional floors are also planned to be added above the Kaufman Cancer Center, providing another 80,000-square-feet of space there. One floor will have observation beds, another with private medical and surgical rooms and the third will be designated for future needs of the cancer center and medical/surgical bed expansion.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify how the square footage of the planned medical campus in Aberdeen.

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