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Boston Medical Center expands redesign of its campus

A rendering of the new emergency department, the Menino Emergency Room, from a redesigned Boston Medical Center.

Boston Medical Center has expanded a massive redesign of its sprawling campus, boosting the estimated cost of construction and renovations to $300 million — $30 million more than originally projected.

Construction prices have increased, and the plans include some new upgrades, hospital officials said.

The four-year endeavor, which began in 2014, is intended to shrink the medical center’s 2 million-square-foot campus by about 300,000 square feet. Hospital leaders say the redesign, which will rehabilitate some facilities and build new ones, will result in a more efficient campus that will save about $25 million a year.

“At the end of the project, we’ll have a consolidated footprint with more modern patient spaces,” said Bob Biggio, the hospital’s vice president of facilities and support services.


RELATED: 3/6/2014: Boston Medical Center consolidating campuses The redesign project was hatched to bring together the campuses of the two hospitals, Boston City and Boston University Medical Center, that merged 19 years ago to form Boston Medical Center. The merger resulted in two sets of hospital departments, such as operating rooms and radiology. Patients are often shuttled by ambulance from one side of the campus to the other.

“Having the two separate campuses like that creates a lot of inefficiency,” Biggio said.

The redesign calls for an expansion of the emergency department, already the busiest in Massachusetts with about 129,000 patient visits last year. It will also relocate several patient care areas so departments are not split across city blocks.

This week, the state Public Health Council approved an updated plan for many elements of the project, which now have higher price tags.

“Construction prices have definitely outpaced inflation,” Biggio said. “There’s a lot of construction going on [elsewhere] right now.”

Biggio said that medical center officials also decided to upgrade the electrical and heating systems so they can withstand big storms, while expediting renovations of some patient rooms, adding to the project cost.


Dr. Alan Woodward, a member of the Public Health Council, which signed off on the project Wednesday, expressed concern about emergency room wait times during construction. He said he hopes the state will send surveyors to make sure no one is disadvantaged. “We’re hoping patient flow and the quality of patient care are maintained through this process,” Woodward said.

Biggio said the hospital is taking “extraordinary steps” to accommodate patients. “It’s a phased construction project with about 27 phases,” he said. “It’s being done that way to minimize the impact on patients.”

A rendering of the view down Albany Street from a redesigned Boston Medical Center.TRO Jung|Brannen for The Boston Globe

Felice J. Freyer of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Priyanka Dayal McCluskey can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @priyanka_dayal.