Saint Peter's University Hospital's emergency department will soon be in the midst of a renovation project that will being major changes.
At Tuesday's Planning Board meeting, representatives for Saint Peter's discussed the renovations, which will add four ambulance bay areas to the emergency room drop off area, a new area for walk-in patients, and remove 23 drop-off parking spaces to be replaced by a free valet service for anyone dropping off a patient in an emergency.
According to information provided by the hospital, the emergency department renovation is part of a five-phase improvement project that is scheduled to last about two and a half years.
The emergency room entrance renovations are phase one of the project, as is a renovation and expansion of the pediatrics emergency department. Phase one is projected to be completed in seven to eight months, according to the hospital.
The project will also add "fast-track" rooms for adult and pediatric patients and three treatment pods that will address acute care, women's health and rapid track patients, according to the hospital.
Upon completion, the emergency department will be 29,000 sq. ft., as opposed to its current 18,000 sq. ft., according to the hospital.
It will be equipped to treat 70,000 to 75,000 patients a year in 56 beds, according to the hospital.
At the planning board meeting, engineer Mario Iannelli said the focus of the renovation was to improve on ambulance unloading and drop-off traffic.
The valet service is a more efficient way of using the drop-off spots, which he observed on his visits to be always occupied, Iannelli said.
"A lot of thought went into this," he said. "I do think the plans improves the circulation."
Robert Mulcahy, Vice President of Facilities for Saint Peter's Healthcare System, said signage will be present advertising the free valet service for visitors. Two security officers will also be in the drop-off area at all times to help direct traffic, he said.