Patient Care

Groundbreaking Celebrates Strong Memorial Hospital Expansion Project

Sep. 8, 2023

Leaders from the University of Rochester and University of Rochester Medical Center, Federal, State and local government, and community supporters gathered today to celebrate the University’s largest capital project in its history. When completed, the Strong Expansion Project will more than triple the size of Strong Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department and add a new, nine-story patient tower, resulting in 650,000 square feet of new, modern space.

The groundbreaking event recognized the completion of enabling projects and excavation that prepared the site for the project, and the start of new construction.

Speakers included University of Rochester President Sarah C. Mangelsdorf; URMC CEO and Dean of the UR School of Medicine and Dentistry Mark B. Taubman, M.D.; New York State Department of Health Commissioner James McDonald; Monroe County Executive Adam Bello; and City of Rochester Mayor Malik Evans.

“The University’s commitment to our community, and to its health and wellness as its safety-net provider, is a responsibility we take very seriously,” Mangelsdorf said. “It’s a commitment we have upheld since the earliest days of Strong, which broke ground 100 years ago.”

Mangelsdorf expressed pride about the Medical Center’s accomplishments and growth over the past century. As she spoke, she held up a special artifact – the shovel with which University President Rush Rhees broke ground on the River Campus in 1927. “I have tremendous hope for our next 100 years.”

Taubman shares in that vision for the future. “Today marks a new beginning for this great hospital as we move to expand and modernize our facility to meet the care needs of our region well into the 21st century,” he said. “We are honored to celebrate with so many incredible leaders and community supporters whose partnership has been instrumental in getting us to this step in our journey.”

Expected to be completed in 2027, the project will help address chronic bed shortages and ED overcrowding issues that the community has faced for years.

It will add more than 200 examination/treatment and patient observation stations in phases to the ED and the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP). The combined ED and CPEP footprint will more than triple, from 32,000 square feet to 120,000 square feet.

  • Plans also include a nine-story inpatient bed tower, which will add ED space, more than 100 private inpatient rooms, and floors for future operating rooms and treatment services.
  • URMC plans to consolidate cardiovascular services in the tower, Taubman said. “It will create a center for advancing heart health that will be among the very best in the nation.” URMC has a storied history of advances in cardiac care, including developing therapies to control arrhythmias and prevent sudden cardiac death; pioneering the mechanical pumps that help people live with advanced heart failure; and building Upstate New York’s only heart transplant program.

Mangelsdorf and Taubman personally thanked New York Governor Kathy Hochul and the University’s state delegation, along with U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and U.S. Congressman Joseph Morelle for their support. Funding for the expansion includes a $50 million state grant provided by the Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Program; and a $1 million federal grant secured as part of the Fiscal Year 2023 Community Project Funding process.

"Today marks a monumental step forward for health care in Rochester and the surrounding area as we break ground on this transformational expansion of Strong Memorial Hospital,” Governor Hochul said. “This is not just an investment in a building - it's an investment in the well-being of our community, ensuring that every resident has access to state-of-the-art medical services and care where and when they need it most."  

“I’m proud to deliver funding for Strong Memorial Hospital because this project will ensure the Greater Rochester community will continue to receive state-of-the-art health care for decades to come,” Senator Schumer said. “The healthcare heroes at Strong Memorial Hospital provide the utmost level of care to the community, and it’s crucial that they have the space and resources they need to continue their vital work. With the largest project in their history, University of Rochester Medical Center is putting the needs of their workers and patients at the forefront and I applaud them for their continued dedication to the community.”

“Improving access to high quality, affordable healthcare in our community is one of my top priorities and I am proud to have delivered funding that helped make today possible,” said Congressman Joe Morelle. “With cutting-edge technology, a highly skilled team of healthcare professionals, and a patient-centered approach, UR Strong Memorial Hospital is ensuring that world-class emergency care is always within the reach of every person who needs it. Together, we are setting the stage for a brighter, healthier future for our community.”

The University of Rochester is grateful to Turner Pike Construction for their work and great attention to detail. This significant transformation is happening within a few feet of the current ED. Their expertise and careful planning is ensuring minimal disruption to patients, families, and employees.

Reaction from Our Legislators

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

“Strong Memorial Hospital provides lifesaving care to countless patients in the Greater Rochester region. The Strong Expansion project will ensure that Strong is one of the most advanced hospitals in the country and will increase efficiency, convenience and bed capacity for patients. I am excited to see this project enter the construction phase and will continue to fight for New York’s hospitals.”

NYS Assemblymember Harry Bronson

“The Strong URMC expansion is critical to supporting better health outcomes for our community by increasing emergency medical care and recovery space. Expanding emergency services is particularly necessary to address the mental health challenges our families, and especially our young people, are experiencing, and the new care centers will alleviate wait times when it matters most. I am proud to support this project for the positives it will bring to our County - especially the benefits to patients.”

NYS Senator Jeremy Cooney

“Strong Memorial Hospital is a true healthcare gem in our community,” said Senator Cooney. “The hospital is a vital source of essential care and its expansion means top-notch facilities, cutting-edge technology, and improved patient experiences will be available to even more individuals. The 650,000 square foot project will nearly quadruple the size of the new Emergency Department, further enhancing the quality of care for countless Rochester families. I am proud to support this historic investment towards a more accessible and efficient healthcare hub.”

NYS Senator Samra Brouk

"As Chair of the New York State Senate Committee on Mental Health, I have heard countless stories about the urgent need to expand Emergency Departments and to create spaces for psychiatric emergency care. This historic expansion will not only transform our local healthcare landscape, but will help provide our friends and neighbors with the lifesaving, compassionate care they deserve. I’m proud to have worked alongside my partners in government to secure the necessary funding for this project, and I look forward to continuing our efforts to ensure that every person can access quality, affordable healthcare.”

NYS Assemblymember Demond Meeks

“I am honored to be part of the groundbreaking for URMC's Strong Memorial Hospital Expansion. Providing better healthcare services to the community is a worthy initiative. By improving patient experiences and providing the necessary infrastructure, this groundbreaking project will enhance the hospital's capacity to meet the growing needs of patients. It is important that we continue to take every step necessary to improve the health and welfare of our community. I look forward to the success and achievements of this substantial addition to URMC. Thank you to the staff of URMC Strong Memorial Hospital for their continued commitment to the members of our community.”

NYS Assemblymember Jennifer Lunsford

"URMC already provides invaluable service to our community. URMC serves as our region's only Level 1 trauma center and dedicated children's hospital. This expansion, the largest in URMC history, is critical to the health and well being of New Yorkers across the Finger Lakes region. I am incredibly proud to have helped secure $50 million state funding to expedite this project and ensure that we are able to meet emergency needs for everyone from birth to end of life. URMC is an important asset to our city, county and the entire State."

NYS Assemblymember Josh Jensen

"Today’s groundbreaking at the University of Rochester Medical Center signifies another example of Rochester continuing to lead the way. With the expansion of Strong Memorial Hospital, our community will have one of the nation’s largest hospitals and one that is uniquely equipped to address the needs of our region and those that call it home," said Assemblyman Josh Jensen (R,C-Greece) Ranking Member on the Assembly Health Committee. "I applaud the University of Rochester for their commitment to this project and their dedication to the community, patients, families, providers and staff they serve."

County Executive Adam Bello

“The Emergency Department expansion project will have a transformative impact on URMC’s Strong Memorial Hospital and our entire community,” said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello. “This strategic investment in our healthcare system will preserve and expand emergency medical care for patients throughout the Finger Lakes region, especially for underserved communities.”

Mayor Malik Evans

“This expansion will transform our region for generations to come and the healthcare and economic benefits from it are invaluable,” said Rochester Mayor Malik D. Evans. “I want to thank URMC and Governor Hochul for making this a reality for our community. We’re not just breaking ground for buildings to rise today, we’re planting seeds of hope so our city will rise.”