SVMC Prepares to Open Alternative Entrance
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SVMC Prepares to Open Alternative Entrance

“Canopy Entrance” Allows Closure of Main Entrance for Emergency Department Renovation and Expansion

BENNINGTON, VT— March 28, 2022—Patients and visitors entering Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), will use an alternative entrance starting Wednesday, March 30. Named the “canopy entrance,” for the prominent tent-like structure and enclosed walkway, it is accessed using the second right turn for patients entering the hospital campus from Dewey Street. The canopy entrance will be used for many patient services—including emergency department, laboratory, imaging, surgery, endoscopy, sleep studies, and visitors to inpatient units—for approximately 16 months, while the current main entrance and the adjacent Emergency Department undergo a significant renovation and expansion. Visit for a map. 

“We have spent a lot of time working to anticipate patients’ needs during this change,” said Pamela Duchene, APRN, PhD, chief nursing officer and vice president for Patient Care Services. “We believe that the canopy entrance will provide a safe, comfortable way for patients to navigate the campus and the building during the construction.”

The canopy entrance has limited parking and is intended for patient drop-offs. Patients and visitors will be required to park and walk or take a shuttle that will circulate the campus 7 a.m. –7 p.m. Monday – Saturday. Shelters for patients waiting for a shuttle are located in the most frequently used lots. Prominently marked pedestrian walkways will be open. As patients approach the canopy, they will find hospitality staff, who will assist in guiding them to services and appointments.

Ambulances will continue to use the main entrance and ambulance bay. Renal dialysis and medical infusion patients have already begun using a different entrance, referred to as the “flagpole lot.” Additionally, several outpatient services discharge patients at the flagpole lot, including Medical-Surgical Units, the Intensive Care Unit, and Women’s and Children’s Services. Medical Records and Billing also use this location for pick-ups, and patients are asked to use the phone located in the vestibule to coordinate delivery. Two entry-point ambassadors are posted to the entrance 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends to assist patients who are unfamiliar with the entrance. For discharged patients waiting for transportation, there is a large indoor patient waiting area.

“The health system’s engineers and construction management firm devised several different entry points for staff, vendors, and selected outpatient services,” explains Ron Zimmerman, SVMC’s director of engineering. “The plan allows us to accommodate all of the patients we serve during several construction phases in the most comfortable and least disruptive way.”

The Emergency Department Renovation and Expansion will nearly double the size of the current Emergency Department, which was designed to accommodate 14,000 patient visits a year but currently sees nearly 25,000 annually. The project will further enhance patient safety, infection prevention, and patient privacy. Vertical treatment areas will allow for highly efficient treatment of low-acuity conditions. The project also includes an expansion to the Emergency Crisis Area for those experiencing mental health distress and increased telehealth connectivity with Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

Outside the Emergency Department, the project includes renovations of the Main Entrance, outpatient registration area, the Imaging Department waiting area, and the phlebotomy and laboratory upgrades. A new connector will provide improved access to SVMC ExpressCare and the Respiratory Evaluation Center and the Medical Office Building to the hospital.

Regular updates on the project are available in SVHC’s weekly e-newsletter, on social media, and on the health system’s website,

About SVHC:
Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) is a comprehensive, preeminent, health care system providing exceptional, convenient, and affordable care to the communities of Bennington and Windham Counties of Vermont, eastern Rensselaer and Washington Counties of New York, and northern Berkshire County in Massachusetts. SVHC includes Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center, the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, and the SVHC Foundation. SVMC includes 25 primary and specialty care practices.

Southwestern Vermont Health Care is among the most lauded small rural health systems in the nation. It is the recipient of the American Hospital Association’s 2020 Rural Hospital Leadership Award. In addition, SVMC ranked fourth nationwide for the value of care it provides by the Lown Institute Hospital Index in 2020 and is a five-time recipient of the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence. It has also received the highest marks possible from the Leapfrog Group. The health system is fortunate to have the support of platinum-level corporate sponsor Mack, a leading supplier of contract manufacturing services and injection molded plastic parts based in Arlington, VT.

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center provides exceptional care without discriminating on the basis of an individual’s age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. Language assistance services, free of charge, are available at 1-800-367-9559.

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