By Danny Schrafel
Huntington Hospital received the go-ahead from the Town of Huntington’s Zoning Board of Appeals for plans to construct a new, state-of-the-art $50-million emergency room as the facility nears its 100th anniversary.
The hospital on June 26 received area, side yard and retaining wall variances from the Town of Huntington’s Zoning Board of Appeals to construct a new 23,997 square-foot emergency room, which would replace its existing facility.
“This expansion will more than double the size of Huntington’s present Emergency Department, and will enable the hospital to improve its level of service and operating efficiency to better accommodate the more than 50,000 visitors it receives each year,” spokeswoman Julie Robinson-Tingue said Monday.
Robinson-Tingue said the $50 million will be “derived from multiple sources, including philanthropy and operations.” Construction is expected to begin in early 2015, with an anticipated completion date in late 2016.
Northport’s Kevin Lawlor, president of Huntington Hospital, told the zoning board June 26 that the project is “long overdue and very much needed in our community.”
“It’s often crowded, and patients wind up in hallways,” Lawlor said of the current emergency room. “We don’t want to do that. The patients don’t want it, and we want an emergency room that is state-of-the-art, efficient, and we can move patients through this new emergency room quickly and efficiently.”
Attorney James Margolin, counsel for the hospital, said the hospital determined a complete rebuild was the most cost-efficient way to go, as opposed to retrofitting and expanding the existing facility. The plan, Margolin said, is to “leave the existing [emergency room] in place, to make a whole new emergency room and then seamlessly be able to serve the community in that emergency department.”
Raul Cotilla, of Melville-based Eschbacher Engineering, said variances for a taller retaining wall are essential for creating a safe, flat emergency room drop-off location.
Huntington Hospital is set to go before the Huntington Town Board July 15 to get permission to use the parking lot at nearby Mill Dam Park for construction vehicle parking, as well as parking for any displaced employees. Margolin said 67 spots will be temporarily lost during construction. That hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Huntington Town Hall, 100 Main St., Huntington.