Today’s news:

St. Mary’s marks $114M expansion with Central Pk- themed street fair

St. Mary’s Hospital for Children in Bayside was set to break ground on its $114 million expansion project this week with a celebration that will transform the hospital grounds into a Central Park-themed street fair.

A spokeswoman for the hospital said the event will go on despite a lawsuit brought against St. Mary’s by the Weeks Woodlands Association, a Bayside group that claims the expansion is illegal.

The expansion includes more space for rehabilitation — the cornerstone of treatment at the children’s hospital — patient care and family visitation, the hospital said.

The project is being built in the back of St. Mary’s U-shaped building and constructed at the same height of the existing structure, the hospital said.

About 420 jobs are expected to be created by the project.

PS 32, a school situated within the St. Mary’s campus, operates in a trailer but will be moved to a permanent home inside the new building, which the hospital said gives the patients “a better learning environment.”

Also undergoing expansion is the hospital’s exterior entrance and covered portico, which the hospital said “will better accommodate ambulances, visitors and community children arriving by bus.”

A new rehabilitation wing is being built that includes state-of-the-art rehabilitation equipment and an endless pool to accommodate multiple modes of patient therapy, the hospital said.

“The number of medically complex children is larger than ever before — today one in five children has a special medical need,” St. Mary’s said. “This expansion will allow us to meet the needs of the growing number of young patients and their families.”

The groundbreaking celebration, set for 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, is scheduled to feature a Central Park-themed street fair with a petting zoo, games, music and authentic New York food and famous city sites.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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