Chris Dayton an electrician with CC Electric works on the new Penobscot Community Healthcare pediatric facility in Bangor. The facility will open in the fall of this year. Credit: Gabor Degre | BDN

A Bangor-area health care system is on track to open a new pediatric center this fall in the former Verizon Wireless call center on Telcom Drive, a move that will give its providers more space in which to see their patients. This new location will also improve the center’s ability to deliver a comprehensive set of health services to area children.

Penobscot Community Health Care’s new pediatric center will replace its current one on Union Street, adding more exam rooms and allowing the organization to boost its total number of pediatric patients from roughly 10,000 to 12,000.

Credit: Gabor Degre

The organization has also pointed to a recent health assessment of Penobscot County that found a number of health problems affecting kids in this region, including a childhood poverty rate that’s nearly 20 percent and growing rates of depression and anxiety. It also identified obesity as a problem affecting 17 percent of high school children here.

[Former Verizon building in Bangor to become major new medical center for kids]

To help address those problems, the new center will allow the organization to hire at least two more mental health providers and include additional spaces in which providers can meet with families privately. .

“We want to be able to serve more patients, and the new center can increase the number of patients over time by a couple thousand,” said Lori Dwyer, the organization’s president and CEO. “It will also allow us to provide more access to services.”

The pediatric center will be located on the second floor of the former Verizon building at 6 Telcom Drive. Penobscot Community Health Care will move other services including speech therapy and audiology to the first floor, and representatives have said that proximity will allow the system to better integrate the services that children receive.

The new center will also provide a nicer atmosphere for patients and their families, according to Dr. Adrienne Carmack, a pediatrician who oversees clinics for foster children and for infants who were exposed to opioids before they were born.

It’s particularly important for “those families see providers in a space that’s welcoming and inviting,” Carmack said.

Penobscot Community Health Care has recently started a $1 million fundraising campaign to equip the new center with furniture, fixtures and medical technology.