Fri November 30, 2001
Rhode Island Hospital To Expand Emergency Room
By Martha Bebinger
Providence, RI – Rhode island hospital is planning a $41-million dollar emergency room expansion that will allow more than two-and-a half times the current capacity.
The emergency room at Rhode Island Hospital already handles about twice the number of patients for which it was designed. Hospital President Joseph Amaral said the overcrowded emergency room creates difficult working conditions and presents a poor image to patients.
“We have great people working here and our facilities need to be equivalent to the people working here. So, that’s really a focus for the next five years,” Amaral said.
The new emergency room would be inside a hospital addition built over Dudley Street and into part of what is now a parking lot. The City of Providence is charging the hospital $300-thousand for the street air rights. The hospital will draw from its endowment and borrow money to fund the project.
Mayor Vincent A. Cianci Jr. said the air rights fee is a good deal for both the hospital and the city, “It was a tough negotiation, but I felt that we could settle for the 300k. It’s tough times and we have to realize that hospitals do perform a wonderful service.”
The city expects an additional payment in lieu of taxes if the hospital goes through with a proposed addition on top of the new Emergency room. In 1994, Providence received an “air rights” payment for a sky bridge that connects the hospital and a medical center.