In a ribbon-cutting ceremony April 18, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, unveiled the “signature element” of the hospital’s $150 million Newark Strong expansion project.
The star of the show – the recently completed, 17,500-square-foot glass-enclosed main lobby – is “a visual representation of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center’s commitment to Newark and to the communities it serves,” according to the hospital.
With its main entrance on Lyons Avenue, the new lobby includes lounge chair seating; new outdoor green spaces with bench seating and pocket parks; additional patient pick-up and drop-off locations; a new registration space; a café; and The Giantomasi Family Community Room.
“Our main entrance used to appear fortress-like,” Newark Beth Israel President and CEO Darrell Terry Sr. states on the hospital’s website. “The new lobby is light-filled and welcoming, letting the community know that we’re here for them.”
The entire project, first announced in March 2019, is being built by Turner Construction and is expected to be complete by the end of 2024, Terry said. The name of the project, Newark Strong, was unveiled in June 2021.
During the ribbon cutting, Terry elaborated on the name, explaining, “Newark Strong – because Newark Beth Israel is not just a hospital in the city. The city of Newark is our home. Newark Strong because the people of Newark are our family.”
In addition to Terry, the lobby unveiling was attended by elected and hospital officials including Mark Manigan, president and CEO, RWJBarnabas; Lester Owens, chair, board of trustees, RWJBarnabas; Francis Giantomasi, chair, board of trustees, Newark Beth Israel; Atiya Jaha-Rashidi, chief equity officer, vice president of community relations, Newark Beth Israel; and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka.
“Newark Beth Israel Medical Center is so critical to our community’s health, and essential to our quality of life and sense of security,” Baraka said in a statement. “This new lobby is but one of the Center’s many new upgrades that include lifesaving, state of the art technology, but its beauty evokes Newark Beth Israel’s aspiration to provide patients and visitors with a sense of calm and spaciousness that refreshes and supports wellbeing.”
Additionally, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center has invested nearly 30% of the total project spend back into local and diverse businesses, according to RWJBarnabas.
Manigan added that the expansion project “reflects our dedication to state-of-the-art patient care, community partnerships, and economic development.”
The Giantomasi Family Community Room: The Giantomasi Family dedicated $200,000 to the creation of the new 800-square-foot, glass-enclosed meeting space, which will feature state-of-the-art technology, such as a 113-inch drop-down screen.
The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey Emergency Pavilion: Thanks to the foundation’s $5 million donation to the project, the redesigned Emergency Department – which treats about 95,000 patients a year – will include 10 new private exam rooms, a new waiting area for adults, and a new waiting area and entrance specifically families visiting the pediatric emergency department. It will also have more access to pickup and drop-off spots and enhanced exterior signage.
Cardiothoracic intensive care unit: The new space will include 13 private rooms, ranging from 350 square feet to 450 square feet and include amenities like sleeper sofas and chairs for family members who want to stay with a patient. Terry said the hospital is “on the verge” of opening this unit.
Expanded cardiac care: The expansion will include a new general purpose operating room, cardiac operating room, a hybrid operating room for advanced multidisciplinary cases and a new cardiac catheterization lab with upgraded equipment.
These additions will complement the hospital’s other recent updates, including a new 24-bed geriatric unit that opened in 2022. Among the unit’s are beds designed to reduce pressure injuries and fall hazards; cushioned, slip-resistant flooring; and hallways with color blocking patterns to help guide and orient patients.
“This Newark Strong Project affirms our commitment to delivering world class care to our patients, and an excellent experience to every visitor who walks through our doors,” Terry said.