Southside Hospital officials unveiled plans to build a five-story employee parking garage and a new pavilion for private patient rooms.
The garage and pavilion are a new phase in the Bay Shore hospital's plan to improve patient care by increasing beds and parking spaces, hospital officials said.
"You can't build any more beds unless you have the appropriate parking spaces," executive director Donna Moravick said. "Right now there are 20 patients on a daily basis who do not have a bed."
The pavilion would include 90 private rooms, four operating rooms and 48 pre- and post-operative holding rooms, Moravick said. The garage would add 1,040 employee parking spaces, leaving the hospital's existing 940 spaces open for patients and visitors.
The hospital plans to tear down a building they own on the northeast side of campus to build the multistory garage.
Official say they need to apply for a zoning change from the Town of Islip before any construction begins.
The hospital has already increased its on-site parking threefold to alleviate the strain caused on downtown businesses, officials said. Earlier this year, they demolished three administrative buildings to create 200 parking spaces as part of a $112 million redevelopment project.
Liliana Tiza, who owns Golden Chicken in downtown Bay Shore, said she had not noticed any significant changes to the parking situation and that hospital patrons still park along Main Street.
"They're not using that parking yet," she said. "But it will help a lot because there was no parking at the hospital."
Earlier this year, the hospital renovated and expanded its 10,000-square-foot emergency room to a nearly 55,000-square-foot department that can accommodate up to 94,000 annual visits. Before the expansion, it was receiving 70,000 annual visits in an area designed for 18,000.
"It's improved a lot, it's very nice and clean," Tiza said.
The hospital would be seeking to rezone all of its campus as part of the downtown development district, said Ronald Meyer, commissioner of Islip planning and development. Currently, the hospital’s campus is located in multiple zoning districts — a mix of business, residential and general service districts, hospital officials said.
Rezoning the hospital would make the construction process easier by determining standards for building heights and establishing landscaping requirements, Meyer said.
The hospital wants to break ground on the garage in 2019 after formally filing an application for the zoning change and processing state permits, officials said.
"It's an opportunity to deliver the level of care this community deserves," Moravick said.