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IOWA CITY — Well before University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics erects a new tower for patients — a long-term project officials revealed earlier this year as part of a 10-year master plan for the main campus — it is looking to spend $95 million adding two floors onto its existing inpatient tower.
The UI this week issued a request for proposals from prospective construction managers for a “vertical expansion of inpatient tower” project on which crews would start work next summer, according to a university timeline. The total project budget, according to the UI request, is $95 million with the construction portion accounting for $50.4 million.
A summary of the project, spelled out in the request for qualifications from interested construction managers, indicated UIHC aims to add two floors to its existing eight-floor John Pappajohn Pavilion, increasing the tower to 10 stories by adding a total of 38,000 square feet.
The budget also includes renovating floors seven and eight.
The new level nine will house an intensive care unit of 24-beds, and level 10 will become a “new mechanical penthouse serving the floors below.” The renovated level seven, encompassing about 33,000 square feet, and level eight, involving about 19,000 square feet, will include new delivery and postpartum OB/GYN care spaces, including inpatient beds, according to the request.
“The construction will be phased to accommodate current hospital operations,” according to the documents, which call for construction manager proposals by Aug. 23.
UI plans to notify a shortlist of finalists by Aug. 31 with selection coming after September, according to the request. UI Facilities Management records indicate it recently chose RDG Planning & Design from Des Moines for the architectural design services.
Budget, design OK still needed
The documents report UIHC’s governing Board of Regents authorized it to enter into the pre-design and schematic design phase of the project. Board spokesman Josh Lehman said the project is part of a 10-year master plan that the UI presented to the board in January, when regents gave it “permission to proceed with planning.”
“They would need to come before the board again for approval on project design and budget,” Lehman said.
UI’s master plan documents made public earlier this year did not specifically outline any $95 million two-story vertical expansion of the John Pappajohn Pavillion, although it did mention the work vaguely in a timeline for three main modernization projects planned through 2031. Those new projects include:
- An 842,000-gross-square-foot inpatient tower;
- A 320,000-gross-square-foot research and academic facility;
- And a 709,800-gross-square-foot outpatient tower.
“Enabling projects” — paving the way for those bigger towers and research facilities — included utilities, demolitions, relocations, parking and roads, according to a UI master plan slideshow.
Among projects mentioned in a timeline for the UIHC campus modernization is “JPP Pavilion expansion (up),” emergency department expansion and internal renovations.
'Renew, right-size and improve’
The $95 million upward expansion will add to a growing list of projects UIHC is engaged in on and off its main campus.
UI Health Care last fall begin work on a 469,000-square-foot hospital campus in North Liberty — with officials recently increasing that project’s budget 33 percent from $395 million to $525.6 million due to inflation. UIHC also is spending up to $15 million to replace windows in its relatively new 14-story Stead Family Children’s Hospital while it pursues a lawsuit against the manufacturer.
In addition to a list of more minor renovations across its main campus and hospital parking ramps — although some still topping $1 million — UIHC recently chose CMBA Architects PC of Des Moines and Miron Construction of Cedar Rapids to design and construct an emergency department expansion.
For the tower expansion at the center of UIHC’s recent request, officials are employing a “construction manager at risk” model involving a “guaranteed maximum price” for the work.
“The construction manager at risk shall assume responsibility for all costs of construction in excess of the (guaranteed maximum price),” according to the document.
In making its case for a new tower offering additional inpatient beds, UIHC in January told regents more than 44 percent of its aging hospitals beds will be obsolete 10 years from now “without renovation and modernization.” Meanwhile, Iowa’s health care needs will continue to expand.
“Iowa will need UIHC to grow by over 400 beds to satisfy complex health care needs of Iowans,” according to the university’s master plan presentation. “If UIHC runs out of capacity, UIHC’s financial stability will be threatened.”
The majority of that 400-bed need will come in “adult acute care,” with UIHC projecting it will need 279 more of those beds by 2031, plus 49 adult critical care beds, 19 pediatric beds and 77 for behavioral health.
“The large increase in the number of patients that need to be seen at UIHC is driven by the aging of the population (creating more complex care needs) and retirement of community providers,” according to the UIHC presentation.
Hospital officials said they’re committed to partnering with community hospitals and finding new efficiencies on campus — saving them from adding 196 beds to their 400-bed need.
Across its campuses, UIHC’s proposed growth over the next decade is expected to increase its inpatient bed days from 256,653 to 302,113; emergency visits from 52,987 to 69,338; surgical cases from 33,764 to 47,912; and clinic visits from 1.2 million to 1.8 million.
“The 10-year facilities plan, for both the UI and UIHC, intends to renew, right-size and improve our campus, for students, faculty, staff and visitors and for citizens of the State of Iowa who rely on highest quality health care,” according to the UI presentation.
Vanessa Miller covers higher education for The Gazette.
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