Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 20 September 2013 00:00
A project years in the making, the $80-million Winthrop-University Hospital Research Facility rising on Mineola Boulevard and Second Street held a “topping-off” ceremony on Monday, Sept. 9. Construction crews laid the last I-beam in place, completing the outside frame of the building.
The four-story, .893-acre facility will house research into obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular health, pulmonary issues and Lou Gehrig’s disease, among others. The building will total 95,000 square feet. Hospital reps said the building should be complete by December 2014.
The ground floor of the facility will be dedicated to medical education, focusing on trauma/surgery simulation in conference, class and lab simulation rooms. The second level is earmarked for adult and pediatric endocrinology and diabetes studies, complete with exam rooms. The facility’s third floor will focus on clinical/transitional research and the fourth and final floor will house research labs and additional conference rooms.
“There’s the academic part of the building and the research part of the building,” said Virginia Peragallo-Dittko, executive director of the Diabetes and Obesity Institute. “The building is set to translate what you learn in research into clinical care for people.”
Peragallo-Dittko noted that obesity and diabetes will be a focus of the research, because they’re so closely linked.
“Diabetes touches everything,” she said. “There’s a lot of overlap in research. Our the basic science is around the beta cell that makes insulin, but in terms of obesity, there’s a tremendous link with diabetes.”
The new building will house classrooms for the 80 medical students who live and study on the Winthrop campus, which serves as a clinical satellite of the Stony Brook School of Medicine, according to hospital reps. A 400-seat amphitheater will function as both a lecture hall and a venue for community education events.
“We wanted something that would symbolize the vision of the hospital,” Winthrop CEO John Collins said.
Winthrop presented the plan to the Mineola Village Board in July 2011 and it was approved two months later. According to hospital officials, the building should be completed by December 2014. It was designed by Perkins Eastman
Architects, which also designed the Long Island Jewish Medical Center.
“It’s a great project for Winthrop and Mineola,” said Mayor Scott Strauss. “The benefits for both the hospital and the village are immeasurable. It’s going to be a big part of our downtown master plan. It brings employees to the downtown area.” Forty-five new positions will be created, from research scientists and statisticians to clinical researchers and support staff.
The development comes at a time where the area near the Mineola Train Station is seeing significant development. The Winston Manor apartment complex, which has begun demolition work, is picking up steam as is its senior housing component, the Churchill.
“It’s going to increase the foot traffic too, the number of people that are going to be coming from different communities,” village trustee George Durham said. “They’re going to be walking through our downtown and seeing our downtown and hopefully shopping.”
After the plan was approved in fall 2011, the hospital’s outreach center was knocked down to make way for the new facility. Also on the site at the time were a poison control center, additional offices associated with the hospital and the La Cisterna restaurant.