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Highland Hospital Holds Ceremonial Groundbreaking on New Building

$28M project includes six new operating rooms and a 26-bed observation unit

Monday, June 01, 2015

Highland Hospital made history today as it held a ceremonial groundbreaking on a new two-story building addition on the south side of the hospital’s current campus. The $28 million project will enhance patient care based on the modernization of hospital facilities and renovation of existing space.

Physical construction will begin on the site once approval for the Certificate of Need from the New York State Department of Health is received; all application materials have been filed. Approval is expected in June or July. The construction project will run for 12-18 months with an additional six months of internal renovation in adjacent building space.

“This is a proud day when we can celebrate our plans to build this much-needed state-of-the art addition to Highland Hospital,” said Joel Seligman, President, University of Rochester. “Highland has long provided quality patient care and this new facility will help us meet the growing needs of our community.”

The new building addition will have two floors and approximately 30,000 square feet of space for six new operating rooms and a 26-bed observation unit. The hospital’s current bed count of 261 will not change; however, patient care areas will be modernized based on more efficient space utilization and design, as well as the installation of new state-of-the-art equipment.

“Access to quality health care is essential to a vibrant community and a vital component to the quality of life in Rochester,” said Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren. “Highland Hospital's commitment to quality health care will go a long way to improving our community’s quality of life as we work to drive more jobs, better schools and safer, more vibrant neighborhoods in Rochester. Congratulations to Highland Hospital for breaking ground on this new addition that we know will serve our community well.”

University of Rochester President Joel Seligman, Mark Taubman, M.D., University of Rochester Medical Center CEO; Steve Goldstein, President and CEO of Highland Hospital and Cindy Becker, Vice President and COO of Highland Hospital, participated in the groundbreaking ceremony, along with hospital personnel, local officials and several representatives of the Hospital’s Neighborhood Steering Committee who assisted in planning the project.

“This project will allow Highland to take excellence in patient-and family-centered care to a higher level,” said Dr. Taubman. “Highland is enhancing and modernizing areas that are vital to the hospital’s mission. The larger operating rooms will accommodate emerging technologies such as state-of-the-art robotic surgery equipment. In addition, we’ll see improvements with infection control based on the increased complement of private rooms. This will limit the cross transmission of germs or microorganisms, which is better for our patients and meets recommended standards from the Facility Guidelines Institute.”

The project is being financed through a combination of equity and loans and is not receiving any government assistance. The building addition will answer essential facility-improvement priorities for Highland: updating and expanding the hospital’s perioperative area and creating a dedicated space for observation patients. Locating all observation patients in one area will also give Highland space on inpatient units to convert some current semi-private inpatient rooms to private rooms.

“Highland is dedicated to delivering the highest quality of care and it’s the right time to invest in modernizing our hospital,” said Goldstein. “It’s an exciting time for a great community hospital that also serves as a regional referral center for patients with complex needs.”

A steering committee comprised of neighbors and hospital representatives meets regularly. Issues are addressed that impact the neighborhood, including the appearance of the new addition, campus landscaping, parking, noise control and good communication. “We’re proud to be part of a beautiful neighborhood in Rochester’s South Wedge area and Highland Hospital appreciates the efforts of everyone who is working together to ensure the success of this project,” said Becker.

Becker further expressed that Highland is committed to communicating about each stage of the construction project in a proactive and transparent manner. The hospital will devote a web page ( to construction-related updates and will continue to maintain close ties with NBN6, a coalition representing several local neighborhoods.

The new building was designed by HOLT Architects, P.C., which specializes in health care facilities. LeChase Construction, LLC will oversee the project. It’s estimated that between 80 and 100 construction worker jobs will be created for the project.

Founded in 1889, Highland Hospital has a history of innovative and personalized care. The hospital is a regional leader in specialties such as bariatric surgery, joint replacement, geriatric care, gynecologic oncology, prostate cancer treatment, women’s health services, and maternity. An affiliate of the University of Rochester Medical Center, the 261-bed organization and its 2,400 employees are committed to providing patient- and family-centered care.

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