Methodist marks halfway point in $275 million expansion project

By Tom Charlier

From The Commercial Appeal

Touting what they call one of the most transformative projects the Medical District has ever seen, Methodist University Hospital officials say they’ve reached the halfway point in constructing a $275 million tower that will consolidate services and increase capacity while accommodating technological upgrades.

The hospital, part of the Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare system, hosted a topping-out celebration this week as the final beam was installed to bring the tower frame to its final 10-story height. Officials also announced a name for the structure — the Gary Shorb Tower, in honor of the longtime CEO who retired last year.

“This new tower will elevate care for Memphis and the Mid-South,” Michael Ugwueke, Shorb’s successor as Methodist Le Bonheur’s president and CEO, said in a prepared statement.

Work began on the addition last year and is slated for completion during the spring of 2019. Attesting to the scale of the project, roughly 600 construction workers are busy at the site at any given time.

With its 450,000 square feet of space, the new tower will create room for upgraded diagnostic services and the latest medical technology, Methodist officials say. Patient rooms will be larger and feature state-of-the-art equipment, and a new parking plaza  offers 700 spaces easily accessible to the tower.

In addition, departments that now are scattered across six blocks near the hospital campus at 1265 Union will be consolidated, allowing for increased efficiency for medical staff and more convenience for patients and their families. Among the functions to be consolidated are two of the most important at the hospital: cancer care and transplant services.

 The West Cancer Center facility nearby on Union will be combined with hospital inpatient and surgical services to create a comprehensive cancer center. Also, transplant services will be consolidated in a two-floor institute.

Featuring 1,100 tons of steel rebar and more than 700 miles of electrical wire, the tower is being built under the supervision of Turner Construction Co. of Memphis. Locally based Allen & Hoshall oversaw structural and civil engineering, while two Memphis firms, Self-Tucker Architects and archimania, had significant design roles under the lead firm of HKS Inc. of Dallas.

Shorb, who spent more than 25 years with Methodist Le Bonheur and 15 as its CEO, said it’s “quite an honor” to have the tower named for him.

“It’s on time and on budget,” he added. “It’s looking good.”


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