The University of Kansas Hospital Authority Board has voted to expand the Cambridge North Patient Tower – while it's still under construction. When the project was originally announced in 2014, it was designed as a seven-story building that held 92 beds and 12 operating rooms, with the option to construct four additional floors at a later date.
"Our patient volume has been so strong the new building will be full as soon as it opens in 2017. So we are going to keep the construction crane on site after the building opens and continue building the four additional floors," says Bob Page, president and chief executive officer of The University of Kansas Hospital.
Page says once the new floors are finished in 2018, one floor will be immediately prepared for patient occupancy, adding an additional 32 beds. The other three floors will be "shelled-in" for future expansion.
However, Page stresses the expanded Cambridge North project makes the need for philanthropic support more important than ever.
"Patients are choosing us because of the difference advanced medicine makes in their lives. We need the community to support this project, to say it is important to have academic medicine and a high, nationally ranked hospital in this community," notes Page.
The hospital had previously set a goal of $100 million in philanthropy for the original $270 million project, including a $10 million challenge grant from Annette Bloch, civic leader and philanthropist. The new addition adds $50 million to the cost, but the hospital will keep the $100 million giving goal.
"In order for us to ensure Cambridge North is built and equipped to meet the demands of 21st Century patients, we will need to use every penny of the $100 million in support. We are confident our supporters throughout the Midwest and the nation will come through," adds Page.
It has been less than a year since the groundbreaking for Cambridge North. During that time the campaign has raised more than $42 million to support the project.