Rooftop garden at Concord Hospital aims to heal body and soul

  • Members of the Concord Hospital Trust and donors to the Concord Hospital Rooftop Garden.  Ben Domaingue—Ben Domaingue

  • Donors and hospital officials break ground on the planned rooftop garden at Concord Hospital. Ben Domaingue / Monitor staff

  • Members of the Concord Hospital Trust and donors to the rooftop garden project. From left to right: Mark J. Aquilino, Andrew P. Martino, Arthur F. Dias, Kevin McCarthy, Matthew R. Routhier, John Leggett,  Robert P. Steigmeyer.  Ben Domaingue—Ben Domaingue

Monitor staff
Published: 10/1/2021 5:59:36 PM

Amid the smell of disinfectants and the glow of fluorescent hallways, hospitals rarely provide a natural escape for their patients. A resurgence in the therapeutic benefits of nature has made hospitals reconsider some of their unused space. 

Concord Hospital recently unveiled plans for a new rooftop meditation garden for its staff and patients. It is being built directly above the emergency room.

The project has faced numerous setbacks, but is finally underway after nearly five years of planning by the Concord Hospital Trust. The groundbreaking ceremony was held last week, with benefactors on hand to imagine what the space will be like when it’s finished. 

Robert Steigmeyer, president and CEO of the hospital, said creating this garden is integral to Concord Hospital’s mission to serve patients and their families. 

“As an organization, we believe in treating body, mind and soul,” said Steigmeyer. “A true healing garden [that] will provide respite to many, many people.”

The project was funded entirely by donations, both monetary and in-kind contributions of services and goods. 

The total cost of the project is slated to be $837,474, with monetary donations accounting for $551,325 of the total budget. The hospital has also received $227,210 in-kind donations.

Pamela Puelo, chief advancement officer of Concord Hospital, said the project wouldn’t be possible without those in-kind donations. For example, one donor donated a crane and operator for two days, which would account for over $5,000 in services. 

“We didn’t have enough cash to make it happen,” said Puelo. “So that’s where all of this [in-kind donations] comes in and makes such a huge difference.” 

Goods and services, from the removal of the rooftop dirt to the donation of plants for the finished garden have been donated to alleviate the financial burden on the hospital. 

Puelo believes the garden will not only benefit patients but also boost staff morale.

“One of our physicians who talks not only about the impact on patients and families, but he comes out here between patients for respite,” said Puelo. 

Concord Hospital expects the project to be completed in November. 

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