New Drive-through Main Entrance at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital

Progress of the $55 million renovation and expansion at community hospital showcased to community leaders, residents and patients at ribbon cutting and open house events.

Gloucester, Va. – Following years of planning and construction, Riverside Health System unveiled the completed portions of its $55 million renovation and expansion of Riverside Walter Reed Hospital in Gloucester, Va. with a ribbon cutting ceremony on January 17 for nearly 150 dignitaries, local officials and Riverside team members, followed by a community open house on January 19.

New Operating Suite at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital

The expansion and renovation project marks the most significant construction project at the community hospital since it opened in 1977, Riverside President and CEO Bill Downey said.

“We are here tonight to celebrate the next step, to reflect on our growth and transformation, and to think about how we continue to support the community, which has been so supportive of us here at Walter Reed,” said Downey. “This is a great community and a great group of people, and we look forward to the next 40 years, as we continue to expand and grow further.”

Both the ribbon cutting ceremony and community open house showcased the hospital’s new two-story, 54,000 square foot Surgical and Inpatient Services building and new main lobby area which will open for patient care on Feb. 4, 2019.

The Surgical Services Suite includes three new state-of-the-art operating suites, two procedure rooms, and pre-operative and post-operative recovery areas. Among the advances in the surgical suite include advanced LED lighting that puts off less heat and are camera equipped, enabling surgical video integration that provides a complete picture of the patient’s condition at any given moment.

Advanced Lighting in New Operating Suite at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital

In addition, any case can be handled in any operating room at any time, allowing maximum scheduling flexibility. All seven new pre-op rooms are fully private, equipped with televisions and music therapy is available to help relieve patient anxiety. Thirteen post-surgery patient bays/rooms also allow for increased privacy while supporting best practices in infection prevention, safety and monitoring.

“These improvements will mean better care, more comfort, more safety and quicker recovery. I don’t think you could ask for anything more for a local hospital like this,” said Barbara Van Hoy after completing a tour during the community open house. Van Hoy, a Gloucester County resident, underwent emergency hip replacement surgery with Dr. Steven Hospodar at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital last summer.

“It really helps people that want to stay in the community, and it allows their families to be right here with them for whatever they are going through,” Van Hoy said.

The second floor of the new building also houses 36 next-generation private inpatient rooms equipped with private bathrooms and showers, convertible sleeper sofas and additional seating for visitors and family members and numerous other features designed to increase both care and comfort.

New Private Patient Rooms at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital

Each room also includes its own fully integrated computer system, enabling safe, efficient access to Electronic Medical Records and built-in telemetry capabilities to be monitored by trained technicians stationed right on the floor 24/7.

“Each room will provide a healing environment that is comfortable, not only for the patient but for their family members and visitors,” said Esther Desimini, Riverside Vice President and Administrator at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital.

The new Surgical and Inpatient Services building is located adjacent to the existing Medical Arts Building and will become the hospital’s new main entrance – complete with a drive through drop-off area, and expansive lobby and registration facilities.

New Post-operative Recovery Room at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital

The complete renovation and expansion project at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital also includes the expansion of the hospital’s Emergency Department which services nearly 22,000 patients a year. The new Emergency Department, scheduled for completion later this year, is being enlarged from 6,300 square feet to more than 16,000 square feet and includes 18 beds, three major treatment rooms, a trauma room and a dedicated Family Care Room.

Other major enhancements to be completed later this year include a new central pharmacy, the relocation of various administrative offices and the opening of a new gift shop and a coffee bar in the new lobby area, offering grab-and-go food and beverage items. New interior hallways will also be opened, creating multiple connector halls from the new Surgical and Inpatient Services building to the existing hospital and the Medical Arts Building.

DPR Construction served as the general contractor on the project, which employed mostly local contractors for the construction effort, with the vast majority of contract funding awarded to firms located within 65 miles of the hospital. Some 37 percent of the contracted firms were SWaM-certified (Small, Women-owned, and Minority-owned) businesses.

It was perhaps Gary Ward, owner of Olivia’s in the Village and Scoot’s Barbeque in Gloucester, who captured the essence and impact of the project best, Desimini said. “Gary told me ‘often you have to go the hospital, but now the hospital has come to us.’”

For more information on Riverside Walter Reed Hospital, visit

Published: January 24, 2019