The new Winthrop University Hospital Diabetes Research Facility held its “topping out” ceremony Monday afternoon when the final piece of structural steel was put into place on the five-story building at the northwest corner of Mineola Boulevard and Second Street.
Garden City resident Charles Strain, chairman of Winthrop's board of directors, was among numerous state and local officials and hospital personnel who signed the white ceremonial I-beam put into place on the Second Street side of the building’s second floor.
“A great gateway into Mineola,” was how Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss described how the new building would look. “As we come over the Mineola Boulevard bridge you’re going to see this beautiful building instead of the stucco wall that you used to see,” he said.
Strauss hopes the finished center will help attract more businesses to Mineola, or create the need for additional office or medical space in the area.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the new facility is scheduled for December 2014.
When completed, the $80 million, 95,000 square-foot, five-story research center will focus on the research of diabetes, obesity and the cardiometabolic complications that arise from those conditions, as well as other pressing national and local health issues, including reducing premature births and treating conditions related to aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis, according to a hospital press release.
The facility will house 80 classrooms for medical students who live and study on the Winthrop campus, as part of its role as a clinical campus of the Stony Brook School of Medicine, medical training facilities, a simulation lab and even a 350-seat amphitheater that will function as both a lecture hall for students and a venue for larger community education events sponsored by the hospital.
“In so many places throughout the state, they’re downsizing hospitals, they’re closing hospitals and I’m so struck by the community that makes up Winthrop of how much you have come together, of how much hard work you have done, both in terms of the medical staff, the research staff and the administrators to make this a very vibrant institution,” NY Sen. Kemp Hannon, R-Garden City, said.
The hospital received a $1 million facilities grant from the Empire State Development program for the construction of the research center and, according to Strain, plans on achieving $25 million in philanthropic fundraising over the next year. Currently the hospital has raised about $14.5 million with $10.5 million still needed.