Hospital set for 2002 completion

Construction on new GW Hospital is ahead of schedule and will be finished in 2002, hospital officials said. GW began construction of the building that lies across the street from the current GW Hospital last April.

“I am able to look out my office window on the seventh floor of Ross Hall and see the tremendous progress being made on the construction of the new hospital. It’s exciting,” said John F. Williams, dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. “The new hospital is a part of the tremendous momentum underway at the GW Medical Center. It’ll be a state-of-the-art facility that will enable us to serve our local community and continue our academic and service missions.”

Marti Harris, media coordinator for the hospital, said the new hospital will be an asset to the community.

“This will be the city’s most advanced hospital, benefiting all D.C. residents, especially the GW and Foggy Bottom communities,” she said.

The hospital, the first to be built in the District in more than 20 years, will include six floors, a basement and a ground floor. Building plans include about 371 patient beds and room for families of patients and caregivers.

“The new hospital has more private bathrooms and the kinds of things people expect today that weren’t really around in the 1940’s,” said Gary Simon, vice chair of the Department of Medicine. “The electrical system is better equipped for more modern medical technology, and the air handling system is better equipped as well,”

The current hospital building was constructed in 1948, according to the GW Hospital Web site.

“The new hospital is a great idea,” Simon said. “The current hospital is really dated, and needs major renovations. The cost of renovating it would exceed building a new hospital.”

The hospital’s main entrance will be located on 23rd Street, near the Foggy Bottom Metro stop. Ambulances will enter in a Washington Circle entrance.

The basement level will contain a pharmacy, labs, classrooms and data processing center, according to the hospital’s Web site. The ground floor will have the main entrance from 23rd Street, plus offices, medical records and the cafeteria.

The first floor will hold the ambulance and walk-in emergency entrances on Washington Circle and emergency rooms. The floor will also house security and registration for the building. The second floor will have surgery rooms, labs and an outpatient center, while the third floor will hold the maternity ward and other natal care services. Floors four and five will have the majority of the patient beds, and the sixth floor will be mostly empty with room for expansion.

A new I Street parking garage next to Munson Hall will be used for hospital parking, according to the Web site.

Bob Ludwig, assistant director for Media Relations for GW, said the University has not decided what it will do with the old hospital site.

Ludwig said the new campus plan will not affect hospital construction, although it may affect use of the old hospital site. Under the conditions of the plan, the University cannot begin construction projects unless they plan to use 50 percent of the space for on-campus housing.

Student Health will remain in the Ambulatory Care Center on 22nd Street, according to current plans.

GW medical officials said the new site is just one component of GW’s improved medical services.

“We’re proud of the synergy between our School of Medicine and Health Sciences and our School of Public Health and Health Services and the other components of the GW Medical Center including this new facility,” Williams said. “It creates optimal opportunities for collaboration, innovation and growth.”

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