MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is set to move forward with constructing the proposed $567 million medical and surgical pavilion by the end of the year after it received concept approval from the Old Georgetown Board and other key community organizations last week.
The new facility will encompass a 477,000-square-foot medical and surgical pavilion that will house 156 private patient rooms, a new emergency department, larger operating rooms, a rooftop helipad with direct access to the emergency room and three levels of underground parking.
The approval came after MedStar Georgetown made alterations to the pavilion’s design at the request of the OGB, an advisory committee of architects who work on behalf of the Commission of Fine Arts to review pending projects in Georgetown. These alterations included adding more green space and walkability around the entrance.
The design initially called for two ramps leading from the underground parking lot to the entrance, which would bisect the greenspace. However, this was reduced to only one ramp in negotiations with the OGB after concerns of pedestrian safety were raised.
According to Medstar Georgetown, the hospital plans to break ground by December in order to complete construction by 2020.
The OGB is an advisory board to the Commission of Fine Arts, which is the federal design review agency. Design review by the OGB/CFA is required as part of the permit process of Washington, D.C. Final CFA action is required for the issuance of a building construction permit.
Despite these changes, the project must still undergo additional mandatory city approvals before construction begins. In a statement to The Hoya, MedStar Georgetown Director of Media Relations Marianne Worley expressed her excitement in receiving approval and moving forward with the project.
“MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is thrilled to receive Concept Approval of our proposed medical and surgical pavilion from the Old Georgetown Board,” Worley wrote in a statement. “On behalf of the patients who will benefit from this pavilion, which also includes emergency care, we appreciate the collaboration and support among our neighbors and the OGB to help us bring this much needed, state-of-the-art facility to fruition.”
MedStar’s expansion project has integrated collaboration between many local Georgetown and D.C. community groups, including the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E and Georgetown Community Partnership.
The ANC is a nonpartisan neighborhood body made up of locally elected representatives who voice the concerns of their neighborhoods to D.C. and the federal government. The Georgetown Community Partnership is a forum that was created as part of the university’s 2010 Campus Plan. It is meant to facilitate discussion and share decision-making responsibilities to maintain a relationship between the university and the Georgetown community.
ANC 2E Commissioner Reed Howard (SFS ’17) worked closely with former ANC 2E Commissioner Kendyl Clausen and MedStar Georgetown Hospital President Michael Sachtleben to advocate for the inclusion of green space in the new designs.
“I am pleased that the new plans contain a major expansion of green living space for undergraduates to enjoy,” Howard said.
In accordance with the university’s 2017-2036 Campus Plan, the expansion is necessary in order to renovate the aging existing building and modernize the facility to meet the needs of patients.
“Following extensive review and discussion, Medstar Georgetown and MedStar Health concluded that a new medical/surgical pavilion on the Georgetown University campus was necessary to address a confluence of factors, including the current aging facility; a need for modern operating rooms; a growing aging population within the District of Columbia; and the need for an upgraded patient experience, including an updated Emergency Department, modern surgical and ICU spaces, all private patient rooms, and right-sized patient areas,” the campus plan reads.
Last October, Medstar Georgetown submitted a Certificate of Need application – a document necessary for the establishment or expansion of healthcare facilities – to the District of Columbia State Health Planning and Development Agency. The city approved the application in March.
Georgetown University Student Association Master Planning and Student Engagement Committee member Mara Goldman (SFS ’19) said the committee is working to ensure that student and campus life is relatively undisturbed by MedStar renovations. Goldman also serves on ANC 2E, but did not work directly with the hospital.
“We’re working to make sure any imposition on student life is limited. We’re working on times of construction to make sure there are alternate routes to campus and just that there’s as little impact as possible,” Goldman said. “In my capacity in GUSA and not in my capacity as ANC commissioner, we have outlined what our priorities are — noise, making sure there is accessibility.”
According to Goldman, the next step is for the D.C. Zoning Committee to approve the plan.