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The University of Kansas Hospital Cambridge North Tower

Changing patient needs. Advancements in technology. Limited capacity. Strains on equipment. We’re all familiar with many of the reasons that new hospital construction and hospital renovations are on the rise, but that doesn’t mean all client needs are the same. JE Dunn recently completed an addition to The University of Kansas Health System’s campus in Kansas City, Kan. to not only enhance technology and safety, but also to create a healing environment to make it one of the leading-edge hospitals in the country.

As the demand for the highest level of care and patient volumes increased, The University of Kansas Health System needed to expand its facilities. A nationally recognized hospital, it was also vital that the facility stay on top of technology and equipment, so doctors could further foster the best teaching environment using state-of-the-art techniques and innovative practices to equip future practitioners.

After four years of planning and construction, Cambridge Tower A is now open and caring for patients. It would not be possible without teamwork in all phases and collaboration from all partners to not only get total buy-in, but also to overcome challenges together for the betterment of the project. With 11 levels (plus lower service level and 12th floor penthouse mechanical space), 124 beds, 11 operating rooms, an intraoperative MRI (iMRI) suite, and a two-story bridge across a busy street, among other features, the 558,570-square-foot building required a commitment from all team members from the top down.

While it is rare to build a hospital ground-up on a greenfield site, the location was not without its challenges. Framed by busy streets, an active hospital, and residences, the first obstacle to tackle was how to construct the facility with as little disruption to the public as possible. We did this by developing a highly coordinated delivery with minimal on-site staging as well as delivering the material in just-in-time fashion. This reduced the amount of space needed on site, as well as sped up installations to cut back on time and equipment needed by trade partners. JE Dunn also leased off-site parking and shuttled employees to the site to reduce the number of vehicles and construction traffic near the residential neighborhoods.

Though aesthetics and physical environment were top of mind when designing the facility, the selection, installation, and placement of technology was carefully considered as well. Technology—and healthcare standards—are evolving so quickly that they had already changed from preconstruction to when construction commenced. Designing systems to accommodate these changes and ensuring the technology and equipment we installed could accommodate future advancements affected how we scheduled and selected equipment.  

The flexibility and willingness to find solutions together—whether they were due to changing codes or finding a better design to give patients better care—speaks to everyone’s commitment to getting this right for the community. From the design to accommodate today’s technology needs to planning for the advancements of tomorrow, every decision was made knowing this world-class facility is ready to serve its patients for generations to come. 

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