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St. Joseph’s Uses CNYREDC Award Funds for Innovative Expansion

Syracuse, N.Y.  – Walking into the main entrance of St. Joseph’s Hospital on Prospect Avenue, you would never know there are over 200 workers building a $140 million expansion just steps inside. Only after walking through the entrance, a serene waiting room, and multiple corridors do you begin to notice signs of a multi-million dollar project in progress.

Started in April 2012, the current expansion is being completed with the help of a $2.5 million New York state award given through the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council (CNY REDC). CNY REDC works to create a more diverse, sustainable, and globally competitive economy for those who live and work in Central New York. The St. Joseph’s Hospital expansion is just one of the 74 regional projects that received a portion of the total $103.7 million awarded in funding to the region last year.

The current expansion, Phase Two B of a two-phase project, will create a new patient tower with 14 operating room suites, 110 new private patient rooms (72 medical/surgical and 38 critical care), and a corridor to North Side businesses. One unique feature of this expansion is that the medical equipment and medication storage areas are located right next to the treatment areas, providing all needed amenities in one space. This is just one example of many improvements made in the expansion, which positively impacts the treatment process and allows the St. Joseph’s staff to be even more efficient and productive in serving their patients.

“At every step of the way, we researched: How can we improve the process so we can attract more physicians, nurses, and patients? ” said Marilyn Galimi, the Director of Engineering and Construction at St. Joseph’s. “Each design choice we made will positively impact the process of delivering exceptional care. For example, most hospitals store medication and equipment in one location, but we decentralized these storage areas so they were closer to the patient rooms. This layout decision will empower our healthcare professionals to provide more prompt, streamlined care.”

To undertake the expansion, St. Joseph’s has partnered with Hayner Hoyt, a General Contracting and Construction Management firm founded in Syracuse in 1966. Hayner Hoyt is implementing plans designed by King and King Architects. All three working groups meet frequently in the on-site project headquarters – a room right in the middle of the construction zone, converted to a meeting space equipped with a Smart Board, detailed project plans, material samples and more.

“This project is truly unique in the level of collaboration between the three entities. We’re all on site together, operating like a very stable three-legged stool and keeping the project balanced through open, effective communication,” said Hayner Hoyt Project Manager Martin Rainbow.

The collaborative spirit is enhanced by the use of a cutting-edge Building Information Modeling (BIM) system. BIM has allowed Hayner Hoyt to create a 3D model of the building within an eighth of an inch in scale. This provides the contractor team with in-depth instructions as they build out the expansion. It also allows for real-time troubleshooting and streamlined communication with subcontractors such as mechanical, electrical, plumbing and HVAC. Despite BIM’s proven time and labor savings; to date, only a few construction projects in Central New York have utilized this innovative technology. Yet, innovation and efficiency are at the core of the St. Joseph’s Expansion mission – and BIM is the most powerful tool available to ensure these goals are achieved.

Another testament to the project’s commitment to innovation is the pursuit of LEED certification. While Phase 2A has been submitted for LEED Silver status, it is a challenge to even pursue LEED certification in Phase 2B. This is because Phase 2B includes operating and patient rooms that require adherence to strict medical guidelines to ensure the health and safety of patients. For example, a floor material may provide great sustainability benefits, but not have enough aseptic qualities to prevent the spread of germs. However, the project team has worked diligently to find common ground between LEED requirements and hospital safety requirements. In fact, the team has discovered that there is often positive overlap between the two.

“You can gain LEED credits by incorporating natural light into your plan. What we’ve found is that natural light provides a more calming environment that improves the healing process,” said Galimi.

The expansion project is also investing $12.5 million in green initiatives, including a green roof, green data center, and incorporation of solar power energy. In fact, the St. Josephs’ Expansion is the greenest healthcare construction project in Central New York.

By integrating daylight, healing fresh air, and noise reduction into the facilities, St. Joseph’s will provide a better atmosphere for patients and their families, ensuring a healthier, more pleasant, and comfortable experience for all.

One of the most exciting aspects of the St. Joseph’s Expansion project is the creation of the private patient rooms. Numerous studies have shown that patients heal faster in a private space, where they are more comfortable and only surrounded by family, friends and their caretakers. In addition, private rooms can significantly reduce the spread of infection and disease.

But these are not your average private hospital rooms: the St. Joseph’s project team created an innovative process in which they first built a “model” room and brought in St. Joseph’s physicians and nurses to test out the space. Seemingly minor design elements, such as where electrical outlets and lights were located were evaluated and critiqued by the staff in order to ensure the most efficient and comfortable space possible. Another notable innovation in the patient rooms are built-in drop boxes. When medication is administered in the hospital, support staff must first bring the medication into the room. Instead of a patient being interrupted twice, the medication will instead be dropped off outside the room utilizing an ID badge system, where it waits until the nurse or physician retrieves it. This also provides an additional layer of checks and balances, ensuring that the patient is receiving the proper medication. These state-of-the-art, private rooms are a testament to the project’s focus on improving the healthcare experience for the people of Central New York.

Yet another way that the St. Joseph’s Expansion project has put Central New Yorkers first is through the hiring process. Over 700 regional contractors have been trained, with at least 200 workers on the job everyday for the past five months. Once complete, the expansion will also create over 200 permanent regional jobs.

“Early on we made a commitment to keep this project local. One of the ways we could do that is by tying the union into it,” said Galimi. “Right now we are 82% union, so the large majority of our workforce is from this area.”

The St. Joseph’s expansion is also spurring economic growth and revitalization beyond the medical center campus. The 700 workers frequent local restaurants for lunch, shop at nearby retailers, and oftentimes stay in nearby hotels. Also, because of the anticipated increase in staff and patients due to the expansion, developers are buying up property next to the hospital – including many vacant residential and commercial structures. A Kinney Drugs is in the works, as are brownstone-style homes and apartments.

In bringing an even higher level of patient care to the Central New York community, the St. Joseph’s Expansion project has raised the bar in healthcare design and construction: The result will be a sustainable, comforting, and technologically advanced environment for healing and health.


The expansion project is currently eight weeks ahead of schedule and will be completed in 2014. Fore more information on St. Joseph’s Hospital, please visit, For more information about the CNY REDC and details on how to apply for this year’s funding, please visit,


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