SCHENECTADY — A new eight-story parking structure proposed by Ellis Medicine along Nott and Ulster streets would not only increase parking capacity but also eliminate longstanding confusion that has existed on campus for years, officials said Tuesday. hospital officials in a virtual community meeting.
The hospital is looking to demolish its 700-space, four-level parking garage that was built more than 40 years ago to make way for an eight-story structure that can accommodate up to 1,200 vehicles. The hospital has outgrown the current structure, which requires thousands of dollars in annual maintenance costs.
Plans for the new structure will be reviewed by the city’s Planning Commission on February 16.
But before meeting with the commission, a number of hospital officials, including President and CEO Paul Milton, joined members of the structure’s design team to brief the community on the proposed plans, answer any questions and gather additional feedback on the plans.
“Time is up for the current Nott Street Garage. It’s old,” Milton said. “With our commitment and our mission of what we do, we need to make sure we have good access and a safe way for everyone to approach the hospital.”
A dozen residents attended the meeting, most of whom remained silent during a question-and-answer period. Those who spoke appeared to approve of the proposal and were primarily concerned about the timing of the project and its potential impact on local traffic.
The new structure, expected to cost $30 million, will have the same facade as the hospital’s Rosa Road parking garage and would be located in the same area as the existing structure.
But the new garage would have a reduced footprint of around 45 feet to ensure the remains of the current structure are entirely removed from the site. The narrower structure will create room for additional green space along Ulster Street that will beautify the area and help reduce stormwater runoff, according to David Vander Wal, senior vice president of Walker Consultants, an engineering firm. engineering specializing in parking structures.
The structure would be precast offsite using concrete and will stand six to seven stories high when fully assembled. The assembly will be done in phases using a crane, according to Vander Wal.
The goal is to begin demolishing the existing structure this summer after obtaining the necessary approvals and securing funding for the project. Ellis received a $2 million state grant for the project and expects the savings on maintenance costs to help offset remaining costs.
The project should last around 16 months. The hospital said the savings in maintenance costs and shuttle services will offset the remaining costs of the project.
Currently, hospital employees must use a shuttle service to get to work due to a lack of on-site parking. The hospital is in the process of securing additional parking for the start of construction, but current plans include expanding the use of Hillside Avenue for employee parking and providing enhanced valet parking for patients. and visitors, according to Mark Mesick, the hospital’s chief financial officer. .
It is estimated that 20 lorries would cross Ulster Street each day during assembly, the equivalent of around three lorries per hour during an eight-hour working day. The road will remain open during construction.
“Once they’ve made 80 percent of the parts, they’ll start erecting the prefab,” Vander Wal said. “It will go from a hole in the ground with footings to a fairly complete building in about two to three months.”
Milton said the hospital administration is working closely with the Schenectady City School District to ensure minimal disruption to students at Oneida Middle School, which is directly across from the site of proposed construction.
“Access and security are very important to us. We are very sensitive to being next to school here with children running around,” he said. “We are working with the school system on this project to make sure it is safe in the future.”
Karen Corona, a school district spokeswoman, confirmed the hospital has been in contact.
The new structure will include three tunnels, including an exit and entrance along Ulster Street and an entrance on Nott Street.
According to Daria Mallin, president of Envision Architect, an Albany-based design firm working on the project.
“We are raising the floor … to allow you to enter at the same level compared to A1, the first floor of the hospital, to obtain this continuity, to again reduce the stress of the experience of arriving on campus” , she said.
Milton said the hospital will work to notify the community of any changes once the project has obtained the necessary approvals and plans for parking and construction are finalized.
Contact journalist Chad Arnold at: 518-410-5117 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.
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