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IL Governor Dedicates $700M New Medical Center

CHICAGO—State Gov. Pat Quinn and city officials were on hand Monday to dedicate the $700 million new Center for Care and Discovery at the University of Chicago.

The 1.2-million-sq.-ft, 10-story medical building was constructed at 5700 S. Maryland Avenue. The building is expected to open for patients on Feb. 23, dedicated to specialty care including cancer, gastrointestinal disease, neuroscience and advanced surgery and high-tech medical imaging.

The new hospital contains 240 single-occupancy patient rooms spacious enough to accommodate families for overnight stays. The rooms, located on the perimeter of the building for greater privacy, have large windows that provide views of the University of Chicago campus, Lake Michigan, Washington Park and the Chicago skyline. Flat-screen TVs, reading lights, dual-layer window treatments and a high-tech paging system that eliminates the need for overhead announcements underscore the University of Chicago Medicine's commitment to patient-centric care.

Quinn said at the ceremony that the center is a national model for the future of health care facilities. "This state-of-the-art medical center has already created thousands of jobs in Illinois and will boost the University of Chicago's standing as a national leader in health care research and quality,” he said.

The dedication ceremony took place in the hospital's Sky Lobby on the seventh floor, which is a departure from typical hospital lobbies that sit on the street level. More than 9,000 faculty and staff work on the medical campus, which includes the Biological Sciences Division, making the University of Chicago Medicine one of the city's largest private employers.

The building occupies the north end of two city blocks, along the south side of 57th Street between Cottage Grove and Drexel Avenues. Each floor will provide 100,000 sq. ft. of space, the size of a typical Walmart store, said Bill Huffman, vice president of facilities, design and construction.

When it opens, the hospital will include 52 intensive care beds and space for 28 operating rooms. The building also has two floors of expansion space that could be used for additional patient care units as well as future leading-edge, technology-based interventional or surgical suites.

Rafael Viñoly Architects, working with healthcare facility specialists Cannon Design, developed the plan for the building. The architects based the hospital structure on a grid system organized into 85 modular cubes repeating on each floor. At 31.5 feet across by 18 feet high, these large cubes, or “bays,” can be repurposed over time to accommodate new innovations and changing needs. For example, one bay can enclose two patient rooms, one operating room or one interventional procedure room–without changing the basic framework of the building.

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