Dr. Brian Goldstein, chief operating officer of UNC Hospitals, said that as medical care and technology evolve, UNC Hospitals aim to stay on top of the changes by creating a space to house those new technologies.
“We always want to stay up to date and be able to provide our patients with the latest medical care, so replacing some of our ORs gives us the opportunity to make them more efficient,” he said.
The current operating rooms were built in 1952, and are in need of an upgrade, said Dr. Melina Kibbe, chair of the department of surgery.
“It is definitely a need for UNC to develop and build this OR tower so that we can have state of the art operating rooms, so that we can provide the patients of North Carolina the state-of-the-art care, high-quality state of the art care,” Kibbe said.
Goldstein said the tower is intended to be a separate building, placed directly in front of the main hospital. The hospital will coordinate with its architects and the University to develop a design focused on promoting the efficiency of every staff member.
Along with providing new operating room suites and technologies to care for patients, Goldstein said another goal of the tower is to benefit families and staff as well.
“One of our other goals is to improve our waiting room space for families and to...replace facilities for our employees like locker rooms and changing areas,” Goldstein said.
Goldstein said funding for the tower will come from bonds, which will be issued sometime in the near future. The exact cost of the project is still under evaluation, but is currently projected to be about $177 million.
Fourth-year medical student Shimena Li said she hopes the tower will allow for a better flow, more privacy for patients and bigger operating rooms.
“I think ultimately it’s going to make it much easier for all the faculty involved as well as the patients,” she said. “It’ll be easier to access, easier to find and they’ll just have an overall better experience.”
Surgical resident Rebecca Brown said the tower is needed due to a current lack of space. She said she hopes the operating rooms within the tower will be closer to the intensive care unit.
More details on the tower will be announced this spring, Goldstein said.
“We will design the building with our architects in consultation with the University,” he said. “It’s worth pointing out that hundreds of our employees have already been involved in the design work.”