It’s only a matter of months now until UConn Health’s new hospital tower changes from a construction worksite to a building ready for occupancy.
The new building, which will feature 169 single-bed inpatient rooms, is widely considered to be the centerpiece of UConn’s share of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s Bioscience Connecticut initiative, an $864 million package of state investments designed to be a catalyst for economic growth in the health care and biomedical research industries. As of Sept. 1, the total number of construction jobs associated with Bioscience Connecticut was 4,540.
Malloy was on the UConn Health campus 14 months ago to sign the steel beam that would top out the tower. Construction started on the building and an adjoining 400-space parking garage April 2013.
Clinical staff and administration have started touring parts of the building and seeing finished mock-ups of patient rooms, emergency department bays and operating rooms. The new tower will include:
- An expanded emergency department
- Four 28-bed units that will house surgery, orthopedic, oncology and medical patients
- A 28-bed intensive care unit with expanded surgical, medicine and neurology critical care services
- A 29-bed intermediate unit
Once the new tower construction is complete and the hospital opens, there will be a second phase of work to make the final connections to the main building through the existing emergency department. There will also be additional exterior site work to complete near the existing ED entrance that cannot be done until after the ED moves.
The UConn Health Outpatient Pavilion has one final milestone ahead: the establishment of a women’s health center on the top floor, with services including a women’s radiology center, obstetrics and gynecology, maternal-fetal medicine, and advanced women’s ultrasound.
The first practices moved in to the new building in February, and by early summer floors 1 through 7 were operational. The result has been the movement of nearly all outpatient services into a single place on the lower campus, in a patient-friendly environment, with convenient parking in a connected garage.
With its abundance of natural lighting, energy efficient design, and shower facilities to encourage employees to bike to work, the pavilion is on its way to earning Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Additionally, the Connecticut Green Building Council has just named the building the winner of its 2015 Institutional Award of Merit.
Construction is well underway at the academic entrance, where a modernization and expansion of space for the medical, dental and graduate schools is taking place. Bioscience Connecticut calls for a 30 percent increase in class sizes and the addition and renovations will provide space to support this growth. UConn Health held a groundbreaking on convocation day. The academic entrance will remain a construction site through May.
Though less visible than the projects already mentioned, a rebuild of UConn Health’s laboratory space in what’s known as the L Building is a significant portion of the Bioscience Connecticut construction. The renovations are being accomplished under two separate projects. Project 1 started in late 2012 and is complete. Project 2 is scheduled to be complete by early 2017, at which time UConn Health will boast modern lab layouts that are open plan and conducive to collaborative research.
Cell and Genome Sciences Building
The addition of incubator laboratory space continues at the Cell and Genome Sciences Building, 400 Farmington Ave., which will enable UConn Health to attract more biotech startups. It’s another aspect of the vision of Bioscience Connecticut to create a worldwide biomedical research/biotech hub in the state. This project is scheduled for completion by the end of November 2015.
The design work is complete for major renovation to the Dental School clinical space, the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center, and the Main Lobby. This phased renovation will take more than two years to complete but when finished will provide state-of-the-art dental clinical space and an expanded cardiology center with additional exam space. The Main Lobby will also be given a significant update that enhances the patient flow and provides easy access to the renovated spaces. The renovations are expected to begin in the second quarter of 2016.