Sinai Hospital broke ground Wednesday afternoon on a $50 million expansion of its emergency department, making space for bigger rooms and some specialties including pediatrics and behavioral health.

The hospital joins others in updating and expanding physical spaces to modernize and add capacity in the Baltimore region.

The work also will modernize the department to make it more comfortable for patients and staff and upgrade the features and services. The last major renovation to the North Baltimore hospital’s emergency department was 25 years ago when about 55,000 people passed through a year.

The number had grown to about 82,000 before the coronavirus pandemic kept away all but the most urgent patients for a time. Patient numbers are again rising, and Sinai officials project about 62,000 patients this year.

Hospital officials say the expansion, which will double the emergency department’s current footprint, will allow for a 30% increase in the patient volume annually and improve the experience for patients and staff.

Sinai is one of four trauma hospitals in Baltimore, along with Johns Hopkins Hospitals, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. The new space will also allow for more providers to care for serious injured patients.

Additionally, there will be expanded waiting areas, a new ambulance intake wing, a new lab and radiology suite, and a new administrative area.

In all, there will be 36,600 square feet of new construction and 33,500 square feet of renovated space, though the emergency department will remain open as the work is being done. The project will be funded with state and philanthropic money, and completion is expected by December 2024.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday afternoon with Sinai officials, as well as those from the parent organization LifeBridge Health.