Court rules in favor of St. Mary’s construction

The chronicle of controversial construction at St. Mary’s added an additional chapter to its touchy tale.

On May 31, the New York State First Division Appellate Court voted three to two in opposition of the Weeks Woodlands Association’s appeal to block expansion at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children.

The heated litigation has been ongoing for several years between the Weeks Woodlands Association, a community group in Bayside, and St. Mary’s. The community group has argued that St. Mary’s violated zoning laws with its current construction project.

St. Mary’s treats children with serious illnesses or injuries, providing rehabilitation and specialized medical care to over 4,000 children every day. The original building, constructed in the late 1950s, caters to children suffering from diseases prevalent during that time period.

According to St. Mary’s spokesperson Leslie Johnson, the space is in dire need of an update, coinciding with technological advances. While the new pavilion will not add patient rooms to the facility, Johnson feels the expansion will “right size” the space. Because patients’ stays average between three to five months, Johnson believes the upgraded 90,000-square-foot center will allow parents to rest by their children’s bedside and give patients a suitable amount of space to heal.

“We are pleased with the court’s decision to dismiss the case,” Johnson said. “This favorable decision brings us one step closer to the realization of a total-healing environment for children with complex medical needs.”

The court’s ruling rendered the case as moot, citing that “petitioners sought no injunctive relief from this Court upon the instant appeal.” The court also said the project is well on its way to completion, with “the excavation, foundation walls, steel superstructure, concrete slabs, metal stud frames and duct work” already finished.