The (Medical) Mall Has it All
A new complex of medical offices in Dover reflects the new style of health care: one-stop service—with a little bit of shopping, too.
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When Dr. Thomas P. Barnett set up his surgical practice in Dover 17 years ago, he was surprised to learn how little confidence some of the residents had in their doctors.
Patients would thank him for a diagnosis, then tell him they would rather have the procedure done by a “real” doctor at Christiana Hospital.
Barnett figured it wasn’t a question of expertise that was driving their doubts, but a matter of perception. People expect offices to have a clean, modern look. Dover physicians were working out of outmoded medical-arts buildings or old houses that had a host of structural and environmental problems.
So when the Eden Hill Farm went up for sale after closing in December 2004, Barnett and a group of colleagues thought it would make an ideal location for a state-of-the-art medical center that would raise their profile and burnish their image.
Their vision became a reality in October when a ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the official opening of the Eden Hill Medical Center.
Roughly the size of three football fields, the $36 million project feels more like an upscale mall than a medical office. The main entrance features a two-story atrium and an expansive lobby with a white-tiled circular staircase. Three stretcher-compatible elevators ferry patients to and from appointments. Satellite radio is piped throughout the building, and the walls are soundproof. A café awaits those who want to do more than read a magazine in the doctor’s waiting room. The exterior is landscaped with as much greenery as possible, and a mansard roof adds a decorative touch to the colonial architecture. The parking lot can accommodate more than 800 vehicles.
Though the planners didn’t set out to build anything fancy, they admit the aesthetics do have their rewards.