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Van Etten Building gets makeover

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The Nathan B. Van Etten Hospital building at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University is undergoing major renovations one piece at a time and with an “open-ended timetable”.

The latest piece to be completed is the Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center, or CERC.

The center was scattered throughout the campus of the medical school and biomedical research institute, but staff wanted to roll all the services into one loation.

Crews wrapped up virtually all work on the Y-shaped building’s patient care center, which took $18 million to rehab.

The latter part of the facility, the Aging Clinic, will begin in the summer. The 22,000 square foot facility has been upgraded to have a more “aesthetically pleasing” look, according to hospital spokesman Chris Iannantuoni. The glazed tile walls have been plastered over with a more inviting hue of blue colors while the flooring on the facility has been replaced with opulent carpeting.

CERC specializes in a wide range of clinical services for babies, children and adolescents. It also provides specialized care for adults with developmental problems. One of those services is a unique dentistry clinic that gives anesthesia through what’s called conscious sedation.

The practice, which is only used for patients with severe developmental and behavioral problems, sedates an individual to the point where they feel little to no pain but are conscious enough to respond to verbal directions. Bringing CERC under one roof made a lot of sense for Salvatore Ciampo, senior director of Facilities Management who oversees the project.

“We think we’re going to have better outcomes for patient care as a result of the concentration of these services,” said Ciampo.

The exterior of the white building is also getting a comb over. Two of the recessed balconies, originally meant for TB patients catching some sun-inducing vitamin D, have been upgraded with improved eggshell white exteriors.

Work to rework the Van Etten building first began even before Einstein signed a 99-year lease agreement with Jacobi Hospital, which operated the building.

Construction crews started the job in December of 2008, with Phase 0. That facet consisted of improving the “clinical skills” offices, where aspiring doctors practice obstetrics and their bedside manner.

The Van Etten Building was supposed to be a tuberculosis treatment center when it opened in 1955, but was never used as such.

In recent years, the building was slated for demolition, but was then reevaluated when engineers found the building structurally sound, according to Ciampo.

“In architectural terms it has good bone structure,” said Ciampo. As for when the entire building will be completed, Ciampo said there’s no way of knowing.

“The timetable is driven by money,” said Ciampo. Along with help from the school’s funds and from the NYC Economic Development Corp., the hospital relies heavily on private donors.

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