Community Liaison Council Meeting Minutes — February 16, 2012

February 16, 2012; 4:00 to 5:30 PM
Natcher Building
Visitor Center, Little Theater
National Institutes of Health

Opening Remarks — Ginny Miller, CLC Co-Chair

Calling the meeting to order, Ms. Miller introduced Leslie Ford Weber, who led a presentation on enhancements at Suburban Hospital. Weber is director of the Officer of Government and Community Relations for Johns Hopkins in the National Capital Region. The CLC invited her to share informational details on ongoing changes at the hospital. The CLC’s interest is in what is happening to the hospital property and how it will affect NIH, the surrounding community and local traffic.

Suburban Hospital Enhancement Presentation — Leslie Ford Weber, Government and Community Relations

Noting that her last presentation before the CLC occurred five years ago, Ms. Weber said she was back before the group at the invitation of Ms. Miller to explain the project details that have received approval and discuss where Suburban’s campus and program enhancements stand today.

Ms. Weber shared some history about Suburban Hospital and its areas of specialty, which include orthopedics, emergency/trauma services, cardiac care, stroke programs and cancer treatment. The hospital is unique in that it doesn’t deliver babies. The 222-bed nonprofit facility serves Montgomery County as well as northwest Washington, DC, and treats about 14,000 in-patients every year. The hospital became a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine almost three years ago.

The last major addition to the hospital was in 1979, Ms. Weber said. For the past six years or so, Suburban has been talking about enhancing its facilities. The hospital seeks these changes because the population in the service area, particularly the number of elderly residents, has grown. Further, private rooms are now the norm, said Ms. Weber, but only about 50 percent of the hospital’s patient rooms are private. The hospital also needs larger operating rooms, including higher space for imbedded wiring and new technology. Last, constrained parking is an issue, said Ms. Weber.

The hospital has undergone a long approval process since developing its plans for enhancing the hospital. The Montgomery County Board of Appeals granted a special exception in 2010, said Ms. Weber. The new project will include a four-story building above ground with a fifth floor below ground for surgeries. The hospital will now offer 108 private patient rooms. The site also will include a new parking structure. The hospital also will maintain ownership of some houses on Grant, McKinley and Southwick. The project includes office space for about 40 physicians.

Weber showed slides of the upcoming expansion, including the new main entrance to the hospital, the lobby, private patient rooms and larger operating rooms. The hospital will tear down the current garage, which accommodates 300 cars, and build a new one that can hold 1,200. After listening to the schedule for the project, CLC members asked questions about the hospital-owned houses and construction vehicles on McKinley. Weber concluded her remarks with a discussion on new services at Suburban, including nurse-led offerings for elderly patients called the Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders (NICHE) program.

Updates from ORF/ORS

Mr. Moss read a notification that the traffic light at the Northwood gate on the Walter Reed campus will undergo changes as of February 16. Typically, the light remained fully operational until 6:00 p.m., said Mr. Moss. Walter Reed will now extend that time until 6:30 p.m. NIH has informed the state and the county of its opposition to this change, said Mr. Moss. The change will have a negative effect on NIH employees, who typically have later exit times. CLC members also discussed the value of staggered exit times and teleworking.

Mr. Moss also discussed NIH traffic at Lincoln, an interesting intersection due to the fact that the check-in point is so close to the intersection. Lincoln has become an issue because a major roadway inside the campus, Convent Drive, has been closed since October, Mr. Moss added. The reopening of Convent in the spring should alleviate much of the congestion at Lincoln. Further, NIH continues to remind employees to have their badges ready when they arrive at check-in points. Mr. Moss also has urged employees to use different intersections to enter campus.

Because NIH extensively researched the traffic/congestion issues that would result from the closure of Convent, Mr. Moss asked the CLC to come up with alternate solutions, a request that Ms. Hildebrand said was inappropriate. During the discussion, however, CLC members posed such suggestions as keeping police officers at the Lincoln intersection, staggering arrival times or having employees enter at South Drive. Mr. Burklow said Mr. Moss would go back and talk to the traffic consultants.

Mr. Moss also reported that a BRAC Implementation Committee meeting would take place February 21st. On February 28th, NIH scheduled a public scoping meeting on the environmental impact statement for the master plan. Mr. Moss said he would clarify the deadline for public comments.

For Maplewood residents, Mr. Moss announced that NIH plans to put use flags to create more pronounced shuttle stops so shuttle drivers and riders know where to stop and stand on west Cedar Lane. Mr. Schofer reported that the driver of an auto carrier has been parking his truck just east of the fire station in the mornings. The driver is parking an immense commercial vehicle along a residential street, so residents should call the police to give the driver a ticket, said Mr. Schofer.


The meeting adjourned at 5:25 p.m. The next meeting will take place March 15, 2012.


CLC Members
Marian Bradford, Camelot Mews
Lesley Hildebrand, Huntington Terrace
Darrel Lemke, Bethesda Parkview
Marilyn Mazuzan, Oakmont
Ginny Miller, Wyngate
Lucy Ozarin, MD, Whitehall
Ralph Schofer, Maplewood
Beth Volz, Locust Hill
Jennette Wade, Whitehall

NIH Staff
John Burklow, OCPL
Brad Moss, ORS/ORF
Tara Mowery, OCPL/OCL
Susan Petersen, ORF
Sharon Robinson, OCPL/OCL

Liaison Representatives
Randy Schools, NIH Recreation and Welfare
Sally Kaplan, West Montgomery Citizens
Joan Kleinman, congressional staffer for Rep. Chris Van Hollen

Leslie Ford Weber, Government and Community Relations

Laura Jackson, Audio Associates

This page last reviewed on March 9, 2017