Seeking to create more modern and efficient facilities for Jersey City Medical Center (JCMC), LibertyHealth engaged the services of a joint venture design team to evaluate improvement options for its circa-1930s high-rise buildings. Originally designed to accommodate primarily inpatient care, the buildings needed to provide adequate adjacencies and circulation patterns for modern medical practices. The need for up-to-date technologies, as well as development costs and phasing issues, pointed to a new facility as the most cost-effective way for the hospital to best meet the needs of the growing Hudson County community.

When a 13.4-acre lot just north of Liberty State Park was identified and provided by the city in 1995 as part of the hospital's 1980s privatization agreement, the design team was given the unique opportunity to design a completely new building. Scheduled for completion in December 2003, the project will create the largest completely new hospital in New Jersey in several years. With a total of 361 beds, it will feature comprehensive coronary and cardiac care, maternity and pediatrics units, a Level II trauma center and children's hospital, behavioral medicine facilities, comprehensive general medical/surgical services, and a new open-heart surgery program. Taking into consideration the limited land available in urban hospital settings, the design team incorporated future expansion possibilities at the third floor above the ICU and at the fourth floor adjacent to the women's health services.

The new facility responds to JCMC's need to provide quality medical care within its urban environment. With a classically modern granite, metal, and glass façade, the building will reflect the revitalization of Jersey City and renew JCMC's image within the community. To enhance the emotional well-being of patients and visitors, windows covering the entire height of the building will provide ample natural light and dramatic views of the Statue of Liberty, the Lower Manhattan skyline, and Liberty State Park.

Project category: Project in progress/Unbuilt (December 2003)

Chief administrator: Jonathan Metsch, PhD, President & CEO, (201) 915-2001

Firms: RBSD Architects, (212) 571-0788; Ballinger, (215) 446-0900

Design team: Arthur J. Blume, AIA, Principal; Mark O'Leary, RA, Project Manager (RBSD Architects); Kurt Baur, AIA, Project Manager; Clare Cerniglia, Electrical Engineer; Jonathan Friedan, PE, Director of Engineering (Ballinger)

Illustration: Lynne Krisfalusi

Total building area (GSF): 400,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $287.50

Total cost (excluding land): $115,000,000