BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A brand new, state-of-the art emergency room is up and running at Johns Hopkins Hospital. It took seven years of planning and construction.

Gigi Barnett reports the first patients are now being treated there.

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Inside Johns Hopkins’ new emergency building, the world-renowned patient care is still the same, but the rooms are larger, the equipment is brand new and the ER opened its doors to patients for the first time this weekend. The old building just didn’t fit their needs anymore.

“Because it was so small; it was so cramped. The facility was generations ago. We needed a facility that matched care in the 21st century,” said Dr. Peter Hill.

Hill runs the ER. He says for months, doctors and nurses practiced moving into the building so no patient would ever be without care.

“You start having real drills where staff are on gurneys and you bring staff from one end to the other as if they’re a trauma patient or a medical patient and through that process, you learn what works and what doesn’t,” Hill said.

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Jim Scheulen was on the Hopkins team that designed the building. At 35,000 square feet, the new ER is three times as large as the old one. It has nearly 100 beds and a pediatrics wing for children who need their parents near.

“It feels very good being in a new building and at 7 o’clock when we opened the door and the first patient walked in, we got a number of patients very quickly. Their reaction was wonderful,” Scheulen said.

Johns Hopkins officials say they had two top priorities when designing and building their new emergency room. The first was patient care; the second was more space.

“I’ve been here since five in the morning and I’ve walked about five miles now. I have a pedometer on, so I’ll be losing weight,” Hill said.

The hospital dedicated its new ER a few weeks ago but the official opening came Sunday morning.

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The emergency room is just one part of the billion dollar facility at Johns Hopkins. The rest of the medical complex opens on Tuesday.