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CBS2 gets look at new Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital in Coney Island

A look inside the new Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital in Coney Island
A look inside the new Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital in Coney Island 02:22

NEW YORK -- A major operation is underway at the campus of the former Coney Island Hospital.

Now known as Health + Hospitals: South Brooklyn Health, staff is preparing to cut the ribbon on a new 11-story hospital building named after iconic Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in 2020.

"She stands for equity and for justice. And that is what we believe that's necessary in health care," explains C.E.O. Svetlana Lipyanskaya.

The more than $900 million project is entirely funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Builders broke ground in 2018, but Lipyanskaya said the story goes back further.

"This hospital is really the result of Hurricane Sandy," she said. "The turtle that was found outside of our Emergency Department, the fish that were in our basement, there was sand in our Emergency Department, fire in our parking lot. Every time there's a hurricane season, we all kind of hold our breath."

"Given the physical location of where we are, we understand that that very likely can happen again," said Arta Seferi, associate executive director of the Emergency Department.

The plan includes demolishing the old Hammett building that's more than a century old, to create an open air plaza and driveway. Leaders at the hospital say flood prevention and resiliency were at the forefront of their designs.

"Our Emergency Department is on the second floor, which means that we'll be able to stay open no matter what. All our key infrastructure is up on the fifth floor and that feeds the whole hospital," Lipyanskaya said.

There will also be a flood wall surrounding the building. However, employees say inside the building is where patients will see the biggest changes.

"The footprint of the E.R. is twice the size, so I can only imagine what it's going to do to our patient flow, getting patients in and out to tests and hopefully through our department quicker," said Patty Watters, a nurse at the hospital.

The layout is also meant to pay homage to the waterfront community, from the blue and beige color palette, to the cloud-shaped light fixtures.

"A ton of natural light; warm, soothing colors; soft, comfortable spaces, rooms that are designed with the family in mind, not just the patient, because we understand that a family is so important for healing," Lipyanskaya said.

The staff expects to begin seeing patients later this year.

"We have been able to preserve our legacy and history while simultaneously starting anew. And that's difficult to do," Seferi said.

For this century-old hospital, a fresh start should ensure it can endure another hundred years.

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