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New ECMC atrium named after benefactor Russell Salvatore

Amal Elhelw

Dignitaries gathered inside Erie County Medical Center Friday for the formal dedication of the main hospital building's new atrium. The atrium is named in honor of local restaurateur and philanthropist Russell J. Salvatore, who donated $1 million for the project.

Thomas Quatroche, ECMC's president and CEO, said the atrium will provide a comfort space not only for patients and families, but also the hospital's staff.

"I could stand here and give you statistic after statistic, recognition after recognition that show they're providing some of the best care in the country. What I'm most proud of is their kindness and compassion, and that's what I hear most often from our patients," Quatroche said.

Credit Amal Elhelw / WBFO News
The new ECMC atrium is named in honor of restaurateur and philanthropist Russell Salvatore.

Salvatore has previously donated hundreds of thousands of dollars for improvements including new television sets for patients and reconstruction of ECMC's orthopedic unit. He explained he was inspired to make those past donations following his own treatment at the hospital.

An estimated 1,200 to 1,500 people will pass through the new entrance each day. ECMC Corporation Board Chair Jonathan Dandes called the opening a historic day for healthcare for Western New York.

“It is perhaps not coincidental that today is also Valentine’s Day because this project is a labor of love. This day, this event marks the beginning of a series of historic moments that will transform the physical space in which our caregivers work [and] save lives every day," Dandes said.

As part of its capital campaign, ECMC is also building a new Trauma and Emergency Department twice the size of the current one. Dandes said he expects it to open in a few months.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.