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New St. Joseph’s surgical suite to open for use July 8

By Eric Reinhardt


SYRACUSE — After more than a year of construction, St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center is preparing to use its new 73,000-square-foot surgical suite, which is part of an ongoing expansion project at the Syracuse hospital.

St. Joseph’s held an opening event on June 17 and will begin using the facility on July 8.

This new space has all the features needed to perform surgeries now and into the future, Kathryn Ruscitto, president and CEO of St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, said during the opening event.

“It’s high tech, based on many best practices,” Ruscitto said.

The surgical-suite project cost totals $80 million, which is about two-thirds of the $123 million total cost of phase 2B of the St. Joseph’s expansion project, according to Marylin Galimi, director of engineering and construction at St. Joseph’s.

The cost includes the construction, medical and mechanical equipment, consulting fees, contractor permits, and legal fees, Galimi says.

The hospital completed the project’s first phase, including the parking garage, pedestrian bridge, and expanded lobby in 2008. It also finished phase 2A, including the emergency department, in 2012.

Completion on a new patient tower is expected in late 2014, according to St. Joseph’s.

The new surgical suite includes 15 operating rooms, two more than the current surgical suite. Each operating-room suite is about 50 percent larger to accommodate the current medical technology and larger surgical teams.

The new operating rooms comprise about 500 square feet of space, and the new suites are about 700 square feet apiece, Galimi says.

The surgical suite includes the PeriAnesthesia Care Unit (PACU), which is designed to enhance care for patients before and after surgery. St. Joseph’s has expanded the PACU from 16 to 25 patient beds, increasing its annual capacity from 10,500 to 14,000 patients.

In addition, the new, co-located Central Sterile Unit is nearly four times larger than the previous 40-year-old unit. Its location adjacent to the surgical suite increases safety and efficiency while sustainable-instrument washers will save water and electricity, according to the hospital.

“The sustainable aspects of this construction for … this project are incredible, so a lot of great energy savings have gone into it, so overall, it’s a tremendous project,” New York Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy said in his remarks during the event.



It’s a “major construction” within the hospital, says Galimi.

It was more complicated than the construction involving the new emergency department (or Phase 2A) because it is “detached from the hospital,” she says.

 “So we really didn’t have to deal with patients and noise and staff being close to the construction site, [whereas] this one is right attached to the hospital and we’re continuously connecting to different existing systems like plumbing,” Galimi adds.

The construction work has continued around the ongoing work of the existing operating rooms.

“So it takes a lot of communication and cooperation, not only with the construction team but with the hospital staff,” Galimi says.

The current surgical setting has changed “dramatically” since 1992 when crews built the existing 15,000-square-foot operating-room suite and PACU, Jodi Donahue, director of surgical services at St. Joseph’s, said in a news release.

“Constructed to accommodate the resource needs of the surgical procedures being performed at that time, the operating rooms were once considered spacious. However, these rooms simply can no longer meet the demands of today’s advanced-surgical technology and procedural complexities,” Donahue said.

Galimi also referenced the early-90s project creating the existing operating rooms.

“So you start seeing aging space that may still be adequate but is not efficient enough for the new technologies that you’re getting,” Galimi says, noting the hospital use of the DaVinci robot for surgeries.

The project will use sustainable-design principles as the hospital seeks Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the project.

Working with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the plan includes solar panels, daylighting views, energy-conserving systems, a greenway park, site drainage, and underground water and storm-water infrastructure, all of which are intended to reduce the hospital’s energy costs.

St. Joseph’s is using several means to finance the expansion project, which includes the recently completed emergency-services building.

The Onondaga Civic Development Corporation has provided St. Joseph’s an inducement of $177 million for tax-exempt bonding. The Onondaga County Legislature has authorized the corporation to assist nonprofit organizations that undertake economic-development projects.

The remainder of the investment will come from hospital reserves and the St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation’s Generations capital campaign.

King + King Architects LLP of Syracuse designed the surgical suite. The Hayner Hoyt Corporation is serving as the construction manager on the project.

Subcontractors include Burns Bros Contractors of Syracuse, which is handling the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning work as well as plumbing and mechanical work; Huen New York, Inc. of DeWitt, the local office of Broadview, Ill.–based Huen Electric, is handling the electrical work; Davis-Ulmer Sprinkler Co. of Clay is working on the sprinkler system; Edward Schalk & Son, Inc. of DeWitt is focused on the drywall work; and Raulli & Sons., Inc. of Syracuse is handling the structural-steel work, according to Martin (Marty) Rainbow, project manager for Hayner Hoyt.

St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center is a nonprofit, 431-bed hospital and health-care system providing services to patients in 16 counties in Central New York.

The facility generated $586 million in revenue in 2012 with a net income of $9 million, according to the hospital.

St. Joseph’s employs more than 3,700 full-time workers.


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