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ST. Joseph's Hosts Groundbreaking Ceremony for Expansion Project

Apr 20. 12

St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center hosted a groundbreaking ceremony Friday, April 20, at 10 a.m. to mark the start of the second phase of construction on its expansion project. The ceremony took place at the corner of East Laurel Street and Prospect Avenue.


The second phase, estimated to cost $140 million, is nearly 50 percent larger than the first in terms of investment, and includes construction of operating rooms, a PeriAnesthesia Care Unit (PACU), Intensive Care Units, medical-surgical private patient rooms, family waiting areas and a central sterile unit – the area of the hospital responsible for washing, sterilizing and distributing patient care equipment and instruments. In addition a greenway connection to North side businesses, green space and campus lighting will be added to the North end of St. Joseph’s Prospect Hill campus.


The second phase of St. Joseph’s expansion will generate 400 long-term construction jobs and 150 new, permanent health care jobs.


Preparing for the Future in Surgery


The new surgical suite will include 14 operating rooms (ORs), which are two more than the current suite, and each OR suite is 50 percent larger to accommodate today’s state-of-the-art medical technology and larger surgical teams. The PeriAnesthesia Care Unit (PACU) will be expanded from 16 to 25 patient beds and will increase annual capacity from 10,500 to 14,000 patients. The PACU is designed to enhance care for patients just before and right after surgery.


A new Central Sterile Unit will be built that is nearly four times larger than the current, 40-year-old unit. It will be relocated to adjoin the new operating rooms, which will increase safety and efficiency. “Green” instrument washers will save water and electricity.


Intensive Care Units Focused on Patient Safety


The expanded Medical and Surgical Intensive Care Units will include 38 private rooms.  Each room will be larger than the existing semi-private rooms and has been designed with its own in-room comfort station.  Because of its direct impact on patient safety and workflow, one ceiling-mounted, articulating arm boom “headwall” will be conveniently mounted near each patient bed, allowing 360 degree access to the patient as well the maximum flexibility and maneuverability required in a high-acuity critical care environment.  A standardized room layout increases patient safety.


Private Patient Rooms Are the Future of Health Care


The project will construct 72 private patient rooms, replacing 36 semi-private rooms currently in use at the hospital. The rooms are 35 percent larger, allowing more space for families and visitors. Larger windows will admit more daylight to speed healing.


“Private patient rooms are the wave of the future in health care,” said Mary Clare Ehde, manager of patient relations. “Not only does the law require us to maintain patient privacy, but a quiet, private environment is shown to help facilitate faster, healthier recoveries. Private rooms also help to reduce spread of infection.”

Going for Green

St. Joseph’s expansion not only will meet the needs of patients and community, but also will demonstrate the hospital’s environmental commitment Consistent with Syracuse’s national identity as one of 10 top green communities in the nation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, this project will use sustainable design principles to build a “healthy” hospital while seeking LEED certification.  Phase 2A and B together are one of the largest green health care construction projects in New York State.

“As a Franciscan institution, we’re proud to note that St. Francis is the patron saint of ecology, and we are committed to applying progressive, ‘green’ construction and operating principles throughout this project,” said Kathryn H. Ruscitto, president and chief executive officer of St. Joseph’s.

Working with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the plan may include solar panels, daylighting views, energy conserving systems, a greenway park, site drainage, and underground water and storm water infrastructure, all of which will reduce the hospital’s energy costs. Additionally, these features are aimed at maximizing the sustainability of the new St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center and ensuring that every impact on current and future generations is a positive one.

Financing the Project

St. Joseph’s is financing the entire expansion project, which includes the recently completed Emergency Services Building, in several ways. It has received an inducement of $177 million for tax exempt bonding from the Onondaga Civic Development Corporation, a local development corporation recently formed by Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney. The Corporation has the authority to assist not-for-profit organizations that undertake economic development projects by the Onondaga County Legislature. The remainder of the investment will come from hospital reserves, as well as St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation’s Generations capital campaign.

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