By Howard Monroe

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After years of planning and construction, Penn Medicine opened its brand new hospital, known as The Pavilion, on Saturday. Hospital staff escorted over 400 patients from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania to The Pavilion.

From now on, all emergency care will take place at the new hospital.

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“I think it’s going to be remarkable how fast we can advance science in this building and we’re really looking forward to it,” Penn Health System CEO Kevin Mahoney said.

Out with the old and in with the new. On Saturday, Penn Medicine officially transferred emergency room services from Penn Hospital to the sprawling Pavilion.

“It lets us deliver better care to the patients that need acute emergency care,” ER Medical Director Dr. Keith Hemmert said.

Staff were cheered on as they wheeled supplies to the new two-story 61-bed emergency room. In all, the hospital has 47 high-tech operating rooms and over 500 patient rooms. If needed, every one of them can be converted into an ICU room.

Officials say the pandemic showed them flexibility is key.

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“That type of flexibility was kept in mind when we designed the building and as COVID illustrated that flexibility is hugely important as we go forward,” Hemmert said.

The Pavilion cost $1.6 billion and has 1-and-half million square feet of space stretched through 17 stories, but officials say what they’re most impressed with are the 10,000 physicians, nurses and staff who will work there.

“The people here, they’ve been providing patient care under very challenging conditions for a year-and-a-half and it came in waves,” Chief Medical Officer Dr. Neil Fishman said, “but it hasn’t ended and they’re working around the clock.”

After Years Of Planning, Construction, Penn Medicine Opens $1.6 Billion New Hospital The Pavilion

More services will be transferred to the Pavilion shortly.

Future plans for the former hospital are still being drafted.

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“After everything we’ve been through over the last couple of years, it’s just a moment of release, moment of celebration,” Mahoney said.