WASHINGTON TWP. – When Kennedy Health merged with Jefferson in 2017, one of the promises made by Thomas Jefferson University President Dr. Stephen Klasko was to have a new patient center built on the health system’s township campus.
On Tuesday, that promise was fulfilled when the ribbon was cut for the $184 million Silvestri Tower, a seven-story, 90-bed patient center. Klasko emphasized the need for the center in South Jersey during his remarks.
“In past, people would’ve had to go to Philadelphia or New York,” Klasko said. “And not only them, but their families can stay right here.”
The building is named after John Silvestri, who made a $5 million donation to Jefferson’s New Jersey branch, the largest donation in its history. Silvestri is the vice-chairman of the Jefferson-New Jersey Board of Trustees with more than 25 years of service to the company. He’s also the president of Site Development Inc., a Mount Laurel-based real estate firm.
Joined by his family, Silvestri credited his mother for keeping him involved with Jefferson for so long.
“Whenever I would get disenchanted or tired and I would consider calling it a day, she would always tell me to keep going and stay involved,” he said. “One day, I asked her, ‘But why should I stay?’ As only an Italian mom would say, ‘Well John, I like to see your picture on the wall when I go to the hospital.'”
New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli also attended the ribbon-cutting and used her time at the podium to thank Silvestri for his generosity.
“Mr. Silvestri’s financial support for Jefferson Health will leave a lasting legacy on this organization in South Jersey,” she said. “But make no mistake, it is not nearly as important as his time and his commitment and his appreciation for Jefferson-New Jersey, formerly Kennedy, and his community.”
The 240,000-square-foot building features an ICU with 30 beds, a new same-day surgery pre-and-post-op unit, a rooftop helistop, and family space in rooms and waiting areas. An 850-space parking garage was also built next to the tower.
Washington Township Mayor Joann Gattinelli said she already had firsthand knowledge on the level of care patients receive in the new center.
“I’ve unfortunately had some situations with my mom within the last four years,” Gattinelli said, “and she’s been pretty much all over South Jersey, I have to say. It was a pleasure, and she didn’t want to come home. I had trouble getting her back out of here.”
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