A vision to expand and integrate the care of women and children in a new, technologically advanced facility at University Hospital is well on its way to becoming reality with the 2018 approval of a financing plan, and selections of the architectural, project management and construction teams.
The Bexar County Hospital District Board of Managers in February approved the selection of the partnership of Marmon Mok and ZGF Architects to design the new Women’s and Children’s Tower, along with a new parking garage and a heart, vascular and advanced endoscopy suite on the first floor of the Sky Tower.
Marmon Mok is a 65-year-old San Antonio firm that has designed a number of San Antonio’s landmarks, including the Tobin Center and the Alamodome. ZGF is a national firm with extensive healthcare experience, including several prestigious women’s and children’s hospital projects.
In September, the Board of Managers approved the selection of Broaddus and Associates to be the project manager and the Bexar County Commissioners Court approved the financing plan. The $452 million project will be funded through the sale of certificates of obligation and the Health System’s current capital reserves, with no tax rate increase.
In November, the Board of Managers approved a contract with Joeris General Contractors to construct the tower and associated projects. Joeris, based in San Antonio, has completed several previous projects – including the current Children’s Health Emergency Department – at University Hospital.
The Women’s and Children’s Tower is the second phase of the Health System’s Capital Improvement Program, which included the 1 million square-foot Sky Tower at University Hospital and the Clinical Pavilion at the Robert B. Green Campus in its initial phase.
The new tower will be home to our Level IV neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), University Children’s Health, obstetrics and gynecology – including state-of-the-art dedicated emergency departments for women and children.
Our vision for the tower is to integrate women’s and children’s services in a way that strengthens both programs and enables specialized teams to more efficiently coordinate care and work collaboratively. Currently, these programs and units are located in various parts of all three existing towers.
The new tower will include advanced labor and delivery suites, as well as significantly larger post-partum rooms to provide more comfortable arrangements for families, and encourage “couplet care” to promote better bonding for moms and babies.
The new NICU, in addition to the latest technology, will have far more space for each baby, enabling parents and grandparents to spend extended periods of time with their babies in an environment designed to facilitate bonding and privacy.
The Children’s Health unit, currently located on the seventh floor of the Sky Tower, will move to the new tower, enabling adult inpatient programs to expand, and offering our young patients an exceptional experience on a unit designed specifically for the unique needs of pediatric patients and their families.
The project has received broad community support, with the San Antonio Express-News Editorial Board calling it “a welcoming and promising development,” one that “the community should endorse and celebrate.”
Groundbreaking is expected in late 2019. Completion of the heart, vascular and endoscopy suite is slated for 2020, and the Women’s and Children’s Tower is planned to open in 2022.