COVID testing line by Barlow Hospital

Vehicles line up in front of Barlow Hospital as they head to the testing site around the corner at Dodger Stadium.

Echo Park - Barlow Respiratory Hospital next to Elysian Park has been getting rebuilt from the inside - a process that has now raised a call for bonds totaling as high as $50 million.

While a line of cars inches by toward the COVID testing station at Dodger Stadium, the Barlow buildings off Stadium Way are getting a new, larger intensive-care unit with private rooms, a new, modernized pharmacy, new rehabilitation, more radiology suites, and seismic improvements, among other things, according to Julia Shimizu, the director of public relations.

Planning documents from last year also include permissions to demolish an equipment shed and the old 743-square-foot morgue, and construct a 1,000 square-foot electrical/mechanical building.

“The impact of our new facility will last for generations,” Shimizu said.

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In the meantime, Councilman Gil Cedillo of District 1 has sponsored a motion to allow up to $50 million in bonds to be issued for construction and renovations in Barlow’s location at 2000 Stadium Way. No city money will actually go toward the upgrade, however, since Barlow will be responsible for paying off the bonds, according to the motion.

"The City is a pass through for the issuance of Bonds," the motion stated, "and is required by federal law to review and approve all projects within its jurisdiction and conduct a public hearing."

This renovation replaces an earlier, controversial proposal to build a new hospital in a corner of the property and sell the rest for residential development.

Barlow opened its doors in 1902.

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