LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Work officially got underway Monday to build UofL Health - UofL Hospital's new, seven-story tower in downtown Louisville.
"What a great day today," UofL Health CEO Tom Miller said. "To plan for the future health care of our academic health system, it's a great opportunity for us to make a difference; one that's long overdue."
Crews broke ground on the tower, which is part of a $144 million project that will expand, and upgrade UofL Hospital located on South Jackson and East Chestnut Streets.
"We think this project will have a huge impact downtown and beyond," University of Louisville President Lori Gonzalez said.
When complete, UofL Hospital will have 20 operating rooms and a new 24-bed observation unit.
The 360-bed facility will also allow patients to have more privacy, as each patient will be assigned their own private room. Right now, some beds are in semiprivate rooms.
"As a person who has worked here for over 20 years and has also been a patient here several times myself, I know the importance of wanting a private room and what that means to you and your recovery and your family and friends who come to visit you and you just want a private place to heal and get better," Kim Wilson, director of critical care services at UofL Health, said.
Wilson, who is also a certified registered nurse, said the shift to individual rooms will also help the nursing staff.
"Nurses who work on units where they have semiprivate, you're always wondering about HIPAA and patient privacy and if you do a certain procedure will it be embarrassing maybe for that patient or uncomfortable for the other patient," she said.
The expansion will also bring about roughly 325 new jobs, including nurses, clinical and non-clinical support staff.
"It's important for the patients, but it's also important for the economy of our city," Gonzalez said.
UofL Hospital is the only level one trauma center for adults in the region, and one of two in the commonwealth.
If work is completed on schedule, the expansion will open in the spring of 2024.