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Real Estate Weekly | Teamwork Bringing Better Healthcare to Urban Residents

Teamwork Bringing Better Healthcare to Urban Residents

July 2011 Download PDF

A plan for redeveloping St. Joseph’s Health System (SJHS) in Paterson, NJ, is starting to become a reality: the first signs of changes are starting to surface. A two-story lobby that connects its new critical care building (which will officially open in September) and the children’s hospital – the first phase of SJHS’s redevelopment – is complete.

The lobby acts as a “gateway” to the hospital and presents the hospital with a new face for the community. It also sets the standard for an improved health system: responsive and accessible health services to the community in an environment that serves patients best.

The master plan for SJHS reorganizes the entire health system and rebrands the hospital to the surrounding population. SJHS’ transformation will be finished in Spring 2012 once the new Ambulatory building in complete.

The redevelopment of Paterson started in July 2005 when the State of New Jersey, the City of Paterson, and St. Joseph’s Health System (SJHS) began discussing redeveloping different zones. Of 12 redevelopment zones in northern New Jersey that were designated by the State, several overlap the City of Paterson and the service area of SJHS. These talks coincided with SJHS hiring Francis Cauffman, the architecture firm, to complete a master plan. Knowing of SJHS’s plans to make a significant investment in Paterson, State and Local authorities requested that SJHS assume a leadership role in the redevelopment of zone 11. This zone encompasses a 25-square-mile area, with the medical center at its core. With the State’s support of the master plan, SJHS and the City of Paterson are collaborating on a number of projects.

In addition to the medical center, the architecture firm identified the following projects in its master plan: low-rise affordable housing, high-rise apartment buildings, a hotel, an office building, a parking garage, and a PATH station (linking the medical center, hotel, and an office building). The plan also includes a new park on Main Street and streetscape improvements along this major artery through the city.

This collaboration served as a catalyst for comprehensive research of the community, initiated by Francis Cauffman and available to the State, City and SJHS to use. Research found 18% of families are managed by single parents (a figure three times the national average) and Paterson families have an average of four children (versus an average of three children for both New Jersey and the country as a whole).

Drawing on this research, SJHS commissioned a master plan to overhaul the community hospital. As a result, SJHS will provide better and more accessible health services for underserved but growing segments of the population, especially in the pediatrics field. It also acts as a tool for economic development with a wider range of community services.

The now-complete two-story lobby has two public entrances, as well as a café, gift shop, a multi-purpose room and waiting areas. Because of a growing need for pediatric services, the children’s lobby needed to be visually separated from the main lobby. With an interactive wall and a custom-designed globe suspended from the ceiling, the lobby has become a bright and calming environment. This is only the beginning of a complete overhaul that will revitalize an urban hospital serving a much-needed community.

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