U Hospital expansion forges on

By By Natalie Hale

By Natalie Hale

University Hospital is under construction, and this time it’s to make room for more patients.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the $120-million expansion took place in July, and the new wing will provide an additional 65 to 70 acute-care private rooms for patients in all services.

“With the hospital 85 to 90 percent full at all times, the U does not have enough beds for additional patients,” said Chrissy Daniels, director of customer service at the U’s hospital and clinics.

With the growing demand for the U’s services and the community’s standard to provide patients with private rooms, the expansion will give the hospital the extra space it needs.

“This will make the hospital more attractive to patients. With more single rooms available, it will put us on par with other hospitals around the city, state and nation,” said Sergio Gonzales, a fourth-year medical student and one of three outgoing student body presidents in the U’s medical school. “We are an institution that wants to push forward and be a national leader in health care, which is what we are doing.”

The U Hospital specializes in orthopedics, ophthalmology, radiology, fertility, cardiology, organ transplants, newborn intensive care and care for cancer, strokes and genetically related diseases.

The hospital is also a nationally verified level-one trauma center and home of the Intermountain Burn Center.

In addition to the 120 new rooms, two stories will be added to the Critical Care Pavilion, which opened in 2003.

The northeast parking terrace will gain four additional levels of parking, resulting in the temporary relocation of the AirMed helicopter pad situated on top of its roof.

“This is a much-needed expansion for our community. We are very excited about it and feel it will provide a great environment for the staff and improved facilities for all,” said Dan Lundergan, executive director of the U Hospital.

The addition of the new wing will change the entrance to the hospital, giving it a new lobby and an updated appearance. It will also make access to the hospital and its services easier for patients and visitors.

The first phase of construction will be completed in June and will provide an additional 30 beds for patients. The remainder of construction will be completed in June 2009.

Photo courtesy Univeristy Hospital

An artist’s rendering of the west pavilion expansion of the University Hospital.