An expansion to construct flood barriers and a new tower at Coney Island Hospital is underway despite slight delays after the coronavirus pandemic forced officials to halt work last spring.
The neighborhood’s namesake hospital has been rapidly expanding since Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on the medical center, using funds from a $922-million emergency grant awarded by the federal government back in 2014.
The southern Brooklyn hospital’s new tower is slated for completion in summer of 2022 — a few months later than originally planned — at the same time partial construction of the wall is expected to be ready, hospital reps said.
The 10-story tower will rise at 2619 Ocean Parkway and house inpatient services — currently situated in the soon-to-be-demolished Hammett Pavilion — with a ground floor lobby, and medical services beginning on the second floor to keep equipment above the flood level. Unlike many medical centers, the new tower will also feature solely single-patient rooms.
“We went from an old, 1954 building to what is a state-of-the-art facility,” said Dan Collins, the hospital’s senior director of facilities, in an interview with Brooklyn Paper. “With older buildings, you have multiple patients in a room, these are all single beds.”
The new facility will include an emergency department on its second floor, a radiology department on the third floor, and a state-of the-art surgical suite on the fourth floor. Floor five will keep mechanical equipment for the new tower and main campus far above the flood levels to ensure the hospital is still powered in the event of floods, while floors six through 10 will house single-bed inpatient rooms, and a labor and delivery department. The tower’s ninth and tenth floors will also house the hospital’s behavioral health department.
Most of the new building’s most prominent features are situated on higher floors to keep the facility operational in case of emergency, Collins said. “In the event of flooding, all of that critical infrastructure raised about flood levels will allow us to keep operating,” he told Brooklyn Paper.
Since the tower is being erected in a space that currently includes the hospital’s parking lot, it will also feature underground parking and the building’s ground floor lobby will be constructed using flood-proof materials.
While pandemic shutdowns led to slight delays to the completion of the new tower, demolition of the 110-year-old, six-story Hammett Pavilion is expected to commence shortly after the tower’s completion to make way for the four-foot flood wall that will be erected around the hospital’s main campus by mid-2023. The flood wall will be outfitted with a series of gates that will close during floods.
“The flood wall is a substantial wall and is prepared for a Hurricane Sandy-type event,” Collins said.
The expansion was announced by hospital administrators in 2018 and required permits from the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation as their plans required draining groundwater in order to construct an elevator pit. A draft permit shows contractors planned to dump the filtered and treated groundwater into nearby Coney Island Creek.