Tucson Medical Center will open new multimillion-dollar surgical tower May 6

Idea of 4-year, $134M project is to improve patients' experience
2013-04-19T00:00:00Z 2013-04-19T10:14:16Z Tucson Medical Center will open new multimillion-dollar surgical tower May 6Stephanie Innes Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 19, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Tucson Medical Center is no longer the country's largest single-story hospital.

But that's a good thing, TMC officials say.

On May 6, the hospital will open its new four-story orthopaedic and surgical tower, marking the culmination of $134 million in construction improvements that began in 2009.

"The whole idea of this more than anything is to improve the patient's experience. It was the number-one reason to do it," said Linda Wojtowicz, TMC's chief operating officer. "It will be easier to park, easier access, and every room will have an incredible view. ... It is all more of a concierge-type approach."

The 200,000-square-foot tower will include medical offices and clinics on the first floor. The second floor will have 14 surgical suites, two hybrid rooms and integrated technology for all specialties, as well as a dedicated pediatric-surgery area. The third floor holds an additional 10 orthopaedic surgical suites, and the fourth floor includes 40 private patient rooms designed for orthopaedic post-surgical care and acute therapies.

The hospital already opened a new and much-needed 600-space parking garage.

The surgical tower is the biggest part of the construction project.

In addition to the tower, parking garage and updated entrance, the hospital also completed an expansion and redevelopment of its children's wing, put in new trails and roadways on the east side of the hospital's campus and renovated the postpartum units.

TMC will also widen the hospital loop road on the west and north sides of the campus, upgrade the campus entryway at Beverly Avenue, and construct a Founders Park to honor the important figures in TMC's history.

The improvements are coming at a time when hospitals statewide are struggling with state budget slashing that has increased the number of indigent Arizonans without health insurance. Also, government reimbursements are not keeping pace with the cost of providing health care.

But TMC officials say that they are in a stable financial position and that the construction project has been completed in phases through a blend of fundraising, savings and borrowing.

"TMC has continued to remain profitable through challenging times," hospital spokeswoman Julia Strange said. "We're not adding any beds. This is not about adding beds; it's about modernizing."

The hospital tower has private rooms only and the whole hospital is moving in that direction.

"We've built the new design around the patient," Wojtowicz said. "We wanted it to be an experience, not just a building."

Kansas-based J.E. Dunn Construction Group's Phoenix division was the contractor in partnership with Tucson's Barker Morrissey Contracting, and Michigan-based Hobbs + Black's architects worked locally with DLR Group. TMC said most of the work was awarded to Tucson subcontractors.

Contact reporter Stephanie Innes at sinnes@azstarnet.com or 573-4134. On Twitter: @stephanieinnes

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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