Why Downtown? Why Not St. Luke’s?

To some, this could seem like old news; for others, a quick review of why MVHS is building a new healthcare campus in Downtown Utica might be new information.

Why Downtown?

It fits the necessary criteria:  infrastructure (water, sewer, power), access, transportation network, capacity to accommodate hospital operations and parking, and no adverse impact on existing hospital operations. “Access,” more broadly stated, means regional accessibility—with proximity to major highways and public transit systems. The MHVS Board also considered Downtown’s central location, urban revitalization opportunities, the state legislation’s allocation of $300 million for a project located in Oneida County’s largest population center, and the support of regional community and government stakeholders.

Why Not St. Luke’s?

Both St. Elizabeth and St. Luke’s campuses have to stay open to serve patients while a new hospital is being built—which will take up to 2½ years. On the St. Luke’s campus, the best location for the new hospital is the site of the current hospital—which, again, has to stay open. There isn’t enough unused acreage on the St. Luke’s site for the planned project.


  • The current hospital is 460,900 square feet with an attached professional office building. The new hospital is projected to be 672,000 square feet, about 1½ times bigger.
  • The Center for Rehabilitation and Continuing Care Services (more than 175,000 sq. ft.), houses a nursing home, an adult day health program, acute inpatient rehabilitation unit, dialysis unit, Visiting Nurse Association of Utica and Oneida County and Senior Network Health—all of which must stay open on the St. Luke’s campus during new hospital construction.
  • Also taking up space at St. Luke’s: an Energy Center, Co-Generation Plant, Dental Center, onsite Day Care buildings, and buildings that house generators and heating and cooling stations.

Apart from all of the above, wetlands on part of the campus acreage would have to be remediated; there’s no room on the campus for a large construction staging area; and the estimated cost to build at St. Luke’s was found to be $40 million higher than building in Downtown Utica.

With a required Certificate of Need approved, environmental review underway and a growing number of property owners in the project footprint making agreements with MVHS, the project is moving forward.

For a recent summary of the site issue, read the March 29, 2018, Observer-Dispatch story entitled “Hospital location: Why not build at St. Luke’s?”

For more detailed information on the project, please visit the MVHS website.


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