Fish River Rural Health celebrates construction of new facility

1 month ago

MADAWASKA, Maine – Dozens of people from Aroostook County and beyond gathered at the site of Fish River Rural Health’s future facility in the Madawaska Midtown Plaza on Friday to celebrate the ongoing construction.

The new facility at 381 Main Street will be roughly 30,000 square feet, and it will cost $14 million. Devoe Construction is the lead contractor, with Harriman covering the architecture and engineering work. 

Fish River Rural Health CEO Heather Pelletier said that while construction was originally scheduled to begin this spring, they were able to get an early start and begin work last fall. 

“We technically bypassed the groundbreaking,” Pelletier said on Friday. “So we’re here today celebrating the construction.”

The event featured speeches from several guests, including Peter Pinkerton of Harriman, Reed Devoe of Devoe Construction, Madawaska Selectboard Chair Jason Boucher, and St. John Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jessica Blalock.

The concrete work is 90 percent complete, and the contractor plans to begin work on the structure itself next month. 

Pelletier said the project is set for completion in late 2025. 

Fish River has facilities in both Eagle Lake and Fort Kent, and they began leasing a space in Madawaska as a part-time facility in 2017. 

MADAWASKA, Maine — June 21, 2024 — Fish River Rural Heath CEO Heather Pelletier speaks during a construction celebration event at the Madawaska Midtown Plaza on Friday morning. The new facility will be located on 381 Main Street and will be roughly 30,000 square feet. (Chris Bouchard | St. John Valley Times)

Pelletier said this was because they noticed a lot of patients not showing up at the Eagle Lake facility, and saw that most of these patients were from the Madawaska area.

“It didn’t take us long to realize that part-time was not enough,” Pelletier said. “So it’s grown ever since.”

Fish River increased to a full-time facility in 2019. Fish River has since expanded into every available space at the current property they’re leasing, which is roughly 9,000 square feet.

The new facility will ideally be able to accommodate the growing needs of the greater Madawaska community. 

Pelletier commended former Madawaska Town Manager Gary Picard and the selectboard for their help in making the project a reality. Town officials have applied for and received numerous grants to help revitalize the Midtown Plaza, including a $2 million grant from the federal government that will cover vital sewer and water infrastructure upgrades in the plaza that will directly benefit the new facility.

“Let us celebrate the construction of a facility that increases access to healthcare and brings good paying jobs with competitive benefits to our valuable residents,” Pelletier said as the speeches concluded.