NORTH ADAMS -- As office furniture, cartons of patient records and boxes of office supplies were unloaded from moving trucks into the Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice of Northern Berkshire's new home on the campus of North Adams Regional Hospital on Wednesday, it was still business as usual for its staff.
"We've been completely wireless for quite some time, so much of our clinical staff and nurses have just stayed on the road during the move," Wendy Dubis, executive director, said Wednesday. "It's made it easier for us to move, especially since they just have to come in and plug in. We didn't even have to move their computers, since they all have laptops."
The 100-year-old agency began moving to its new location on the first floor of the Doctor's Building, adjacent to the Ambulatory Care Center, on Monday. The move is expected to be complete by the end of today.
"Right now, we're unpacking and learning how to use our new phone system," she said, briefly taking a break from assembling the agency's new medical records room. "The biggest challenge so far came on Monday, when we shut down the old office at 4:30 p.m. We had to make sure the phone system was transferred to this office and that our scheduler would have her office up and running. It all worked out."
Dubis added, "I think the challenge for us now is to settle in to our new space, which is about a third of the size of our old location. We've been packing for about three months, which gave us the opportunity to get rid of a lot of items we no longer need."
The agency's phone numbers have remained the same.
The move, which was announced in October, is the result of an agreement between the agency's parent organization, Northern Berkshire Healthcare, and its bond holders as part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy court agreement. The agency's home of 18 years, at 535 Curran Highway, is being sold as part of the agreement, as well as the Northern Berkshire Family Medicine building on State Road and the former Women's Exchange buildings on Cole Avenue in Williamstown.
The 13,000 square foot building, which was built in 1994 and sits on 2.65 acres, is currently being offered by Steepleveiw Realty with an asking price of $699,000.
Dubis said she doesn't anticipate much confusion for the VNA's 150 clients, as letters about the move were sent out in advance and a large banner will be placed at the site instructing those who do visit the agency to its new location.
"We haven't really heard much about the move from our clients," she said. "We do get some foot traffic. We'll still be holding our clinics on Tuesdays and Thursdays."
The new space, which has been used as storage for the last several years, was revamped from floor to ceiling, according to Paul Hopkins, NBH director of community relations.
"In order to keep costs down, we did a lot of the work in-house through our facilities staff," he said. "Almost everything is brand new, from the ceiling tiles to the carpeting and doors."
Dubis added, "When I first saw the space in October, I wasn't really sold on it. It's like night and day. We're very pleased."
While the agency lost its large conference room in the move, a small conference room was created from two offices in the new location.
"We'll still be able to host the organizations and support groups, including the Sons of Italy, which use our conference space," she said.
While the new location is smaller than the VNA's prior location, Dubis said the new space on the NARH campus has its advantages.
"We're closer to many of the offices we work with -- finance and case management, and of course the doctors' offices," she said. "We're hoping that being closer to the doctors' offices will help them think of us more often and get us a few more referrals."
An open house is planned in the coming months.
For more information, call 413-664-4536 or visit www.nbhealth.org.