Posted 9:24 p.m. Aug. 15- GW and elected officials joined a crowd peppered with medical personnel outside Ross Hall yesterday for a ceremonial opening at the new GW Hospital.
More than a hundred people packed under a tent and spilled out onto the sidewalk outside the Foggy Bottom Metro stop to hear about the $96 million building, which will open to the public next weekend. Employees have been working this week to learn their way around the six-floor, 371-bed facility.
The new hospital boasts the most modern technology in the country, said hospital CEO Daniel McLean prior to the ribbon cutting. White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams also spoke at the ceremony.
The new equipment includes a wireless data network for physicians to keep patient records and test results and quicker, clearer x-ray systems. A state of the art maternity ward features rooms that accommodate a new mother during labor, delivery and recovery, and non-invasive incubators with x-ray equipment inside, complete with wooden rocking chairs next to them.
The sixth floor of the hospital is dedicated to the GW Medical Center for training and research.
Card said GW Hospital, which treated former President Ronald Reagan after an assassination attempt in 1981, has always been “the president’s hospital.”
“It’s certainly the vice president’s hospital,” he said. Vice President Dick Cheney has made multiple visits to the GW Hospital for heart problems.
The building features many private rooms and VIP suites, some of which overlook Washington Circle.
University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg has not revealed any plans for the old hospital site, but has said in prior interviews he would like to see a “mixed use” building, possibly with residential, commercial and academic space.
The city will close 23rd Street between I Street and Washington Circle to traffic from 7 p.m. Friday until 7 p.m. Saturday, when hospital employees will assist patients across the street to the new facility through an air-conditioned tent set up between the two buildings.
The new hospital will open to the public once all the patients have been moved in. The emergency department will begin operation at 7 p.m. Friday.
Aug. 23 hospital move-in
5 p.m.- visiting hours end
6 p.m.- emergency room stops receiving ambulances
7 p.m.- 23rd Street closes between I Street and Washington Circle, shelter tent erected
8 p.m.- old emergency room closes, new facility opens for traumas and walk-ins
9 p.m.- patient transfer begins
midnight- new hospital begins receiving ambulances and walk-ins