OSU plans 2 building projects
Ohio State University intends to build a new hospital tower, which the university calls “the largest single facilities project ever undertaken at Ohio State.”
The university announced requests for qualifications Wednesday, seeking design professionals for two Wexner Medical Center projects anticipated to cost more than $2 billion: the tower and a new ambulatory center.
The envisioned hospital tower will have up to 840 beds in private rooms to elevate patient-centered
care, safety and training for future physicians, the university said. The tower is planned for the area west of the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital, between 12th Avenue and Medical Center Drive.
It will include diagnostic, treatment and inpatient-service areas, including space for emergency care, imaging, operating rooms and critical care. The tower also will have 60 neonatal intensive-care unit bassinets, digital technologies to advance care and teaching, additional green space and a new parking garage.
If planning and approval from Ohio State’s board of trustees go according to plan, university officials envision the tower will be completed well into the next decade, with a tentative goal of 2025, university President Michael V. Drake said.
“Pending necessary approval, we are going as fast as we can,” Drake said.
“This is an important moment in time,” said Wexner Medical Center board member Robert H. Schottenstein in a statement. “We are positioned to take a bold step forward by aligning all the operations of the medical center for the delivery of care, research and innovation that will have life-changing, long-term benefits for central Ohio, the State and beyond.”
The ambulatory center, planned for the western campus between Kenny Road and the Carmack parking lots, would include outpatient operating rooms, urgent care with a 23-hour observation unit, endoscopy unit, pre-anesthesia center, diagnostic imaging and interventional radiology.
Officials estimate the ambulatory center will be completed or near completion in about three years.
Cost estimates for the projects are still being determined, pending the design process. They are part of a larger plan to advance the health sciences at Ohio State, including a previouslyannounced interdisciplinary health-sciences center.
“It’s just critically important as we look to the next 50, 60, 100 years in medicine, that we have the facilities to take care of the patients in the communities that we serve,” said David P. McQuaid, chief executive officer of the Wexner Medical Center, adding that the new facilities also will serve the medical center’s missions of training future clinicians and integrating research.
Despite a nationwide trend focusing on outpatient services, university officials said their hospital beds are full and there’s great need for more inpatient facilities in Columbus.
“As we focus ourselves on more and better outpatient services, we still will have the need to take care of more and more complicated patients on the inpatient side,” Drake said.
“It’s important to look at what’s happening in Columbus, the population itself,” McQuaid said. “That’s significant, significant growth, which is very important.”
The announcement of the projects comes amid Ohio State’s search for a chancellor to lead its medical center and health-sciences enterprise.
“One great thing that that person will be able to do is to help guide the completion of these projects forward,” Drake said.
A project already underway to relocate Cannon Drive, which runs along the Olentangy River to the west of the medical center, will help make way for the new hospital tower. The university had plans to move the road to protect the medical center and other university assets from potential flooding. But by doing so, it also freed up developable land near the medical center.
“The two are tied together,” Drake said. “We would have to move Cannon Drive anyway for safety, but we’re moving Cannon Drive in a way that creates 12 acres of space.”
The Wexner Medical Center is coming off its best year ever. During its last fiscal year, the nonprofit center ended with $302 million in revenue after expenses. University officials also pointed to a 20 percent increase in research funding from the National Institutes of Health, as well as a record number of applications for this fall’s entering class at the College of Medicine.
“That’s what these (requests for qualifications) are about, is really growing the facilities that will allow us to continue to have this incredible success that we see going forward,” said Dr. Craig Kent, dean of the College of Medicine.
This is a view of the site where Ohio State University plans to erect a new hospital tower. It’s between 12th Avenue and Medical Center Drive.