When NYU Langone Medical Center embarked on a multi-phased expansion and renovation project in 2011, part of the plan was to keep the ground-level emergency department open during construction. But 20 months into the project, Hurricane Sandy hit, filling the facility’s cellars and basements with 15 million gallons of water.

“It wasn’t possible to open or immediately relocate the ED,” says Claudia Gorun, senior program director, NYU Langone Medical Center (New York).

NYU Langone made the decision to close the department so that the original phased renovations that had already begun could be fast-tracked and still completed on time. In also took the opportunity to look at the construction plans and revise them to integrate the ED within the overall campus flood mitigation plans.

“NYU Langone is protecting the campus perimeter, for both current and future buildings, with a flood wall system and increased reinforcements,” Gorun says.

Specifically, new flood walls were constructed in the open space between buildings and points of entry, the walls surrounding the emergency department were reinforced and waterproofed, and measures were put in place to prevent backflow through existing utilities.

In addition, power, water, and cooling equipment was moved above the 500-year flood level, a glass storefront was replaced with a solid reinforced concrete wall, and flood gates were installed.

Despite the delay and added measures, the renovated ED opened before the original scheduled date, aided by the decision to close the ED and complete the construction in one phase, Gorun says.

The new Ronald O. Perelman Center for Emergency Services, at 570 First Avenue and 33rd Street in Manhattan, opened in April 2014 and measures 22,000-square feet—more than triple the size of the former emergency department. The facility anticipates treating more than 50,000 patients a year.

With the added size, the ED was able to add some new features while expanding others, including:

  • Separate entrances for walk-in patients and ambulances
  • 40 emergency care treatment spaces and bedside registration
  • Imaging facilities for rapid testing and diagnosis
  • A new Kids of NYU Pediatric Emergency Care Center within the Perelman Emergency Center, which includes a pediatric entrance, private exam/treatment rooms, pediatric triage, and a pediatric waiting area
  • Direct access to NYU Langone’s Comprehensive Stroke Care Center
  • A dedicated pharmacy and pharmacist on-site 24/7
  • An adult waiting room and a family consultation room

Additional space was assigned for emergency services by expanding the building footprint outside the building envelope and by relocating other hospital services.

“The expansion is designed to meet the growing need for emergency services in the community,” Gorun says.