MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Two Memphis hospitals are undergoing multi-million dollar expansions, adding multiple stories on top of existing buildings.
Crews are a few months away from wrapping up construction to the exterior of the $275 million Methodist University Hospital expansion project. It took a well-choreographed plan to build on top of the hospital still fully operational.
The new hospital tower, at 10 stories tall, soars over the Methodist University Hospital Campus. Soon to be the home of state-of-the-art of patient care and treatment facility.
Straying away from the red brick, like other Methodist University Hospital buildings, its newest 10-story modern tower is a stark contrast with its blue tinted windows.
Named the Gary Shorb Tower in honor of the longtime CEO who retired in 2016, it's a building the hospital calls one of the most transformative projects in the Medical District.
Below the sounds of hammers and saws is the fully operational emergency department.
It took years of planning to ensure the construction would not impact patients.
"We have to work and coordinate with the infectious control officers and all the folks inside the hospital that that's done at a coordinated time, so it doesn't impact the care," Andy Davis, Turner Construction Business Manager, said.
For the past several weeks Eastmoreland Road has been closed as the new tower expands over the road.
A similar "over build" is happening on the other side of the Medical District at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital. The expansion at the children's hospital adds new operating rooms, again without disturbing the hospital's daily operations.
"When the construction there is complete, it'll be what we are calling the beacon at the top," Richard Kelley, VP of Corporate Facilities at Methodist, said. "So when you're driving up from the interstate in the Medial District here you'll know you've arrived at your destination."
The new building's dynamic glass windows automatically tint throughout the day eliminating the need for shades. It also consolidates the oncology, transplant, and outpatient programs into a new centralized area.
"Patients come on campus, it's very large--multiple city blocks--it's confusing, so we are consolidating that to just a few points of entry," Kelley said.
Departments that now are scattered across six blocks near the hospital campus will be centralized. The addition brings more operating rooms and more beds for the ICU.
An expansion Roland Cruickshank, president of Methodist University Hospital, said will meet the growing health care needs of the Mid-South and attract top health care providers.
"This new tower will absolutely allow us to provide top and world class care that people will travel, not only from around the state, but from around the country," Cruickshank said.
The upgrades are expected to bring the nearly century old hospital into the next century.