Plans approved for new tower at University Hospital

Friday, June 5, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 4:00 p.m. CDT, Friday, June 5, 2009

KANSAS CITY - Plans for a $203 million new tower at University Hospital will go up for a vote by the UM System Board of Curators on Friday, after receiving approval by the finance committee on Thursday. The finance committee also approved $1 million to design renovations to Mark Twain Hall.


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The new Patient Care Tower, which will be located on the north side of University Hospital, was designed by HOK architecture firm of St. Louis.

The plans boast seven floors, of which the first two will contain the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, said Kevin Necas, chief financial officer of University of Missouri Health Care (UMHC).

The cancer center will primarily be an outpatient facility, providing services such as screenings and cancer treatment, said Harold Williamson, vice chancellor for Health Sciences.

The next two floors will contain 12 surgical suites, which will include new technology allowing for specialized surgery in areas such as neurosurgery and cardio-thoracic surgery, Williamson said.  

“Both medical care and patient expectations are way different than when we built this hospital in the 1950s,” Williamson said.

The final three floors will contain patient beds, housing 90 patients in private rooms.

“It’s very important to us as an academic medical center to have the technology in place in the new tower,” Necas said.

The tower is expected to be complete by December 2012, Necas said. Sources of the funding include debt financing, cash flow, state funding and philanthropy, he said.

The design for the Patient Care Tower is only one of three parts in phase 1 of the Master Facility Plan, totaling $280 million.

“With a 1950s building, you can’t change to meet today’s standards," Williamson said. "This brand new, state-of-the art hospital will accommodate our plan-for growth and give us a great place to train students studying medicine and nursing, as well as train our residents."

A $1 million lump sum was also approved for the design of renovations to Mark Twain Hall, a residence hall built in 1965. Nikki Krawitz, vice president for Finance and Administration, said the funds would be taken out of MU housing reserves.

The renovations, should the board of curators choose to fund the project, would cost approximately $19.9 million. Krawitz said the renovations would be funded through revenue bonds financed by student room charges, residential life reserves and campus dining reserves. Cathy Scroggs, vice chancellor of Student Affairs, said the project would be completed in 2012. 

The Bozoian Group Inc. of St. Louis, who received the contract, competed with two other firms.

“It was an open selection,” Bob Unrath, assistant director in Planning, Design and Construction at MU, said.  “We felt confident that they had the experience and could handle a project of that size and scope.”

The board members deliberated for more than 20 minutes on the renovation. Several members were concerned that renovations to Mark Twain Hall were not a big enough priority.

Scroggs addressed the board and said the funding for the design and renovations required immediate attention.

“We have quite a bit of water that’s seeping into that building and there’s some elevator issues,” said Scroggs.  “We need to do something to keep it open any longer.”

She also mentioned that the hall has problems with its heating and cooling.  

The preliminary design, Krawitz said, would reduce the density of residents in Mark Twain Hall from 391 to 372 students. Scroggs said that additional study space would be added during proposed renovations. 

Chancellor Brady Deaton defended the project as a priority to the board. He called it consistent with MU's long-term plan.

"A lot of thought has been given to this,” he said.


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