VIPs in Hard Hats and Orange Vests Tour New Ortho Tower

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Local elected officials and dignitaries joined Tucson Medical Center yesterday as it prepares to lose bragging rights to being the largest single-story hospital when a new four-story surgical tower opens next year.

Instead, as guests were given tours of the newly-completed, 600-car parking garage and granted a peek inside the TMC Orthopaedic and Surgical Tower, TMC President and CEO Judy Rich said the hospital instead will have something far more meaningful to brag about.

Not only will the $109 million investment provide a state-of-the-art facility for patients in the near future, but is now providing much-needed jobs in the community, Rich noted.

With nearly 80 percent of the contracts going to Southern Arizona firms, there is a daily average of 100 workers on site, with estimates that the number will double as completion nears in spring 2013.

Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, a Democrat, lauded the hospital for undertaking appropriate and planned growth in collaboration with the nearby neighborhoods, but also said he was heartened to hear of the work being done to help build the economy.

“TMC did a great job of going out and hiring locally for this job and that’s always appreciated,” he said.

Republican Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll, whose wife and children were born at TMC, likewise applauded the project. “It’s obvious that construction jobs are sorely needed in this area today, so I’m glad to see a project that will mean better health care delivery and good-paying construction jobs in the region.”

The 200,000-square-foot facility – the only one dedicated exclusively to orthopaedics in the region – will be cooperatively managed by TMC and Tucson Orthopaedic Institute.

Dr. Scott Slagis, medical director for the TMC Orthopaedic Center, said he looked forward to the partnership, saying it will only strengthen the quality service the two organizations already provide. He also said he appreciated the courage of the TMC board to proceed with the sizeable investment.

The new tower will include 24 operating rooms on two floors, with one floor dedicated to orthopaedic surgery. It will also provide 40 private patient rooms, designed for post-surgical care for the orthopaedic patients.

Christine Aronoff, a member of the TMC Foundation board, said she was glad she had a chance to take the tour. “You can see renderings and hear that it will be 200,000 square feet, but until I had a chance to see it, I didn’t have an appreciation for just how grand it will be,” Aronoff said. She said the excitement of the physicians who will ultimately practice there was contagious, as she watched their reaction as they studied the footprints of the future operating rooms.

Bill Anderson, who represents Old Fort Lowell neighborhood on TMC’s architectural review board, said he also found the tour worthwhile. “We were able to come to some good compromises,” Anderson said. “It’s a good project and it’s not obtrusive to the neighborhood.”

The project follows the completion of TMC’s eastside redevelopment in the summer of 2011. That $25 million redevelopment included the introduction of TMC for Children, a children’s hospital within a hospital, as well as renovation of the rooms on the Mother/Baby unit and the development of a new Craycroft Road entrance.

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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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