From the Editor: Details Matter

From the Editor: Details Matter

A couple of years ago, while my mom was battling the cancer that would soon kill her, she spent some time in a treatment facility near her rehabilitation center. The staff there was efficient and friendly and the nurses and technicians showed real concern for my mom’s comfort, bringing her blankets and ginger ale and, most important, a positive demeanor.

But there was a problem: Every time one of the doors in this small facility closed, it closed with a bang. More than a bang, actually. These were large, wooden institutional doors with metal frames, hardware and striker plates and the staff allowed them simply to swing shut. Every time someone left an office or a treatment room, it sounded like hammers on a dumpster.

If there were mechanisms to control the speed and force of the doors closing, they were not working — on any of the doors in the facility — and the staff obviously had become accustomed to the noise.

It was a small indignity in the grand scheme of things, but still.

I was reminded of this recently while visiting several of the Upper Valley’s retirement communities with my wife and her parents. I was there in my role as dutiful son-in-law. I wasn’t wearing my editor hat. But as we walked down a hallway during a tour of The Woodlands at Harvest Hill, the 64-unit independent living retirement community on the campus of Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital in Lebanon, I watched as a member of the housekeeping staff returned something to a supply room. Then she walked away and the large institutional door of the supply room began to swing closed … slowly …. slowly … and then shut with a soft click.

So much better, I thought, than hammers on a dumpster.

The Woodlands at Harvest Hill was completed in 2010 by Trumbull-Nelson Construction Co., the subject of this month’s cover story by contributor Kelly Burch.

Trumbull-Nelson, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, has built, renovated or remodeled hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of square feet of commercial, municipal, industrial and residential space in the Upper Valley and beyond.

It has built some of the most recognizable buildings in the region for some of the largest institutions around, working with a who’s who of area architects, contractors and subcontractors.

It has, as company president Laurence “Larry” Ufford told Burch, “hired tens of thousands of people over a hundred years.”

With that kind of scale, over that period of time, with that many players in the mix, I hesitate to make too much of one properly operating door. But, in the grand scheme of things, sometimes it’s the little details that matter.

Ernie Kohlsaat

Author: Ernie Kohlsaat

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