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SPRINGFIELD — In an effort to improve health equity and meet the growing needs of the Springfield community, Baystate Health announced a plan to build a comprehensive community health center in the heart of the city, made possible by the support of its longstanding partner, MassMutual.

MassMutual is donating approximately 10 acres of land valued at an estimated $5 million in the southeast corner of its Springfield campus, as well as providing financing and other support for the project. In addition, the MassMutual Foundation is donating $5 million over five years to support the new, state-of-the-art health center that will be owned and operated by Baystate Health.

The expected total cost for the project is $45 million to $50 million.

The proposed 90,000-square-foot community health center, which will be accessible at the intersection of Wilbraham Road and Alden Street, will centralize services, creating a medical neighborhood caring for children, families, and adults and providing comprehensive primary care, integrated behavioral health, and ancillary services for the Greater Springfield area. The new center will have greater access by public transportation, ample free parking, and easy access from major thoroughfares.

Prior to conveyance to the Baystate Health Foundation, MassMutual will clear the site of the existing buildings, and the lot will be subdivided into its own parcel, separate from MassMutual’s headquarters. Construction is expected to begin sometime in 2025 and be completed in 2027.

“Thanks to the generous donations and substantial support provided by MassMutual and the MassMutual Foundation, Baystate Health’s vision to create a comprehensive, integrated community health and wellness center to serve the most vulnerable populations in Greater Springfield can advance towards realization,” Baystate Health President and CEO Dr. Mark Keroack said.

With the new community health center and wellness hub in place, Baystate Health will consolidate services from four of its existing Springfield health centers to the new building, where they will continue to provide services, plus more, for adult and pediatric patients at the new location. These centers will remain open and fully functional until their services can be transitioned to the new health center, and Baystate Health is committed to engaging the community and local leaders during the planning phase of the project.

The centers and their services that will be transitioned to the future Wilbraham Road location include Mason Square Neighborhood Health Center, Baystate High Street Health Center, Baystate High Street Pediatrics, and Wesson Women’s Clinic.

These existing community-based facilities are limited in size and scope with many infrastructure challenges that require significant upgrading and capital investment to  allow for growth and expansion of services. The new center will provide Baystate Health with a state-of-the-art, modern facility to provide robust care for patients as well as attract top providers.

“We intend to co-locate four of our existing Springfield community health centers into a larger, modern facility to create this unified healthcare delivery wellness hub,” Keroack said. “Several convergent factors have informed our vision. The positive outcomes we have demonstrated in our Medicaid accountable care organization, involving more than 50,000 of the region’s most underserved patients, have provided value to this population, improved health, and allowed us to begin to address health disparities and inequities. We could not do this without the generosity of MassMutual and the MassMutual Foundation.”

In addition to MassMutual’s support, the project will also benefit from some expected state and federal grants. The land that will be donated to Baystate Health represents roughly 10% of MassMutual’s approximately 100-acre Springfield campus. The company’s move toward digitization and bringing its employees together in its iconic main office building on State Street has left a portion of its property underutilized, including two vacant buildings. Rather than leave this space unused, the company wanted to find a better, more long-term meaningful use for the land, one that would serve the community MassMutual has called home since 1851.

“Throughout our long histories in Springfield, both MassMutual and Baystate have had an enduring commitment to each other’s success as we’ve worked toward our own respective, yet similar pursuits, helping people live better, more fulfilling lives,” said Roger Crandall, chairman, president, and CEO of MassMutual. “We are incredibly proud that a portion of our property will serve a more meaningful purpose and a greater good, expanding access to high-quality medical care to improve the health and well-being of our community for generations to come.”

Combined, the four existing community health centers planned for the move currently serve 125,000 patient visits annually. In the envisioned community health center campus on the land to be donated by MassMutual, Baystate Health expects patient visits to increase to 145,000 annually by 2028.