The Westchester County Local Development Corporation Board unanimously approved $108 million in tax-exempt bond financing to White Plains Hospital during a meeting Monday afternoon. The amount is the largest the LDC has considered to date.
The design, already approved by the White Plains Common Council includes construction of a six-story patient care building, five new operating rooms and an expanded outpatient radiology center.
For White Plains Hospital the expansion will allow the medical facility to significantly improve its operations on a limited campus that is straining at the seams to keep up with growing patient demands. WPH serves over 500,000 residents and people working in White Plains.
For the county and White Plains, the project means 400 new permanent hospital jobs and about 75 high-wage union construction jobs will be created.
The project will add 51,000 square feet of space and renovate 14,000 square feet.
White Plains Hospital CEO Jon Schandler explained that in its 120th anniversary year, the hospital is already operating with advanced medical technology and that the construction upgrades will enable the facility to build five new operating rooms (one is already under construction and projected to be open within a month) with new pre-op and recovery areas, state-of-the art lighting, operating tables, ceiling mounted equipment and minimally invasive technology.
A six-story patient care building will house two medical/surgical floors, family waiting rooms and 24 new private patient rooms for a total of 144 private rooms.
An expanded outpatient radiology center will feature new waiting rooms for patients and family members.
A new covered front entrance and lobby with a glass atrium and new café will improve traffic flow and convenience during arrival and departure.
A bridge over Davis Avenue from the lobby to the existing parking structure will cost about $7 million and the final decision on its construction will be made as the project develops. Schandler noted, however, that the lobby would be built to accept the bridge whether it becomes part of the final construction or not.
As the LDC is a funding agency for not-for-profit organizations, Schandler explained the hospital’s fundraising initiative for $100 million and efforts made to increase energy efficiency by moving from oil to natural gas. Because of the age of the original building, the structure can accommodate a green roof but attempts for LEED certification are not viable.
With energy efficiency and power demands for new technology providing a real strain on the hospital’s ability to operate efficiently, Schandler explained that it was necessary to purchase several back-up generators for use during various stages of construction.
One board member asked if the hospital would consider alternative energy generation technology that would take the hospital off the grid if necessary, yet still keep it powered up. That consideration is a possibility.
After the meeting Schandler acknowledged that the hospital’s campus was limited in space and the hospital was in the market to look for an additional 50,000 sq. ft. of medical office space.
Astorino said he was proud of the project that would save the hospital $3 million that could be poured back into the medical community.