St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children will debut the first phase of its $114 million upgrade project that includes a new pavilion for its patients on Sept. 27.
The project’s first phase – known as the New Patient Pavilion - broke ground two years ago. It includes a new five-story building with a center for pediatric feeding disorders, music therapy room, horticultural garden, putting green, exercise facility and pool, upgraded rooms for its patients, 55 additional parking spaces and state-of-the-art equipment.
“They thought of everything when they built this building,” St. Mary’s spokeswoman Leslie Johnson said. “Our old building was tight and cramped with five kids per room. The new building is designed to help with the healing process. It has floor-to-ceiling windows that are meant to bring nature to children who can’t go out much.”
The children’s hospital, located at 29-01 216th St. in Bayside, will soon begin phase two of its project, which includes upgrading its existing building, enhancing its school trailers, adding a clubhouse and providing new space in which families of patients can relax. That phase of the project will take one year to complete.
The upgrade has been paid for through bonds from the state’s Dormitory Authority as well as donations from philanthropists, Johnson said.
St. Mary’s provides space for 97 patients, who range in age from newborns to 18-year-olds and have severe injuries, illnesses or complications from premature birth. Patients tend to stay at the hospital anywhere from a few months to several years, depending on the severity of their conditions.
“Our goal is to facilitate our patients through the continuum of care,” Johnson said. “We help them to manage their conditions with the goal of sending them home.”
The hospital’s patients will move in to the new facilities within a few weeks.
New equipment in the pavilion includes a piece of robotic exoskeleton machinery that helps children stay mobile and utilize rarely used muscles.
The pavilion also has a new therapy program known as Arts for Healing on its ground floor.
“It’s piggybacking off our old art therapy program to help kids express how they are feeling,” Johnson said. “And we have galleries donating pieces of work.”
On its ground floor, the pavilion includes an aquatic therapy room, a fitness center and the Burton Grebin MD Rehabilitation Center, which is named for the hospital’s late chief executive officer.
The pavilion’s first floor will house its toddlers, the second floor is the nursery and the third and fourth floors are for older children. Patients will now live two to a room.
“We feel our kids benefit from having roommates since they are often with us for a long time,” Johnson said.
The patient floors also include a media center with a lounge, flat screen TV, kitchen pantries and a computer station.
The old building will retain its chapel, cafeteria, medical preschool and clinical offices.