Who would have imagined that an old, industrial stock house in Ludlow, Mass., could one day become a part of the most advanced, forward-moving rehabilitation provider in the nation?

Ludlow Mills stands along the Chicopee River, housing rows of shoebox-shaped brick buildings once used to manufacture and store jute yarn and rope. For years, its buildings remained vacant, offering no exceptional purpose for the community. Yet, a local developer recognized its potential, and it wasn’t long before Encompass Health’s real estate team tapped into the site for the 74,000-square-foot Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Western Massachusetts. 

Nine acres of Ludlow Mills’ land was purchased just a few blocks away from the existing hospital to bring much needed space and updates for employees and patients. 

“The location offered exactly what we needed in Ludlow—plenty of space and convenience for patients,” said Rick Byrd, Encompass Health’s national director of real estate. “It was very rewarding to develop a plan for a new hospital that would better serve our patients, communities and employees, while preserving historical significance and the environment.” 

Through months of thoughtful planning, the project team designed a hospital to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green rating system, making it Encompass Health’s first green hospital. 

“As a LEED development, this new hospital takes our mission of helping others one step further,” said Elizabeth  Mann, Encompass Health’s direction of design and construction projects. “By considering the environmental factors when creating the design, we benefit the community by maximizing natural open space, reducing storm water pollution and connecting with the natural surroundings.”

Mann was instrumental in working with the design team to capture LEED concepts in making the most of the building’s space. Rustic bricks and sturdy beams were reclaimed from installed for those who ride their bicycles to work, supporting cleaner air and fewer trips to the gas pump. 

“It brings us great personal and professional satisfaction to see our patients, visitors and staff enjoying this beautiful, state-of-the-art hospital,” Mann said. “It took a team effort to make this project happen. But, I think we can all agree, it was definitely worth it.

By the numbers  

• 100,000 bricks salvaged from mill stock houses for exterior and interior walls

• Old wood stock house beams make a statement in tall, light-filled lobby

• Solar panels create 60 kilowatts of onsite renewable energy

• Baseline water usage reduced by more than 45%

• Energy usage lowered by 26.2%

• Carbon emissions from vehicles reduced by offering bicycle racks and preferred parking for fuel-efficient cars

• 89% of construction debris diverted to recycling sites

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