A drive down the Eisenhower Expressway offers a view of the latest stage of development in Rush University Medical Center's 172-year history: the new Rush hospital building rising 14 stories above ground. When completed in 2012, this innovative structure will offer patients and visitors their own great views — of downtown, the near West Side and a transformed Rush campus.
Stage 1: The Vision
The new hospital building as well as the recently opened Orthopedic Building, an additional parking garage and a central energy plant are all part of a decade-long redevelopment plan called the Rush Transformation. The vision for this project first came into focus in 2004, when the Rush Board of Trustees met to talk about changes in medicine. They realized the future of health care would require a focus on improving the quality of care and enhancing the patient experience. These became the key goals driving the transformation project.
Stage 2: The Plan
Building on the already solid foundations of Rush's current campus and mission, the transformation planning got under way in 2005.
Nurses, doctors and patients participated in the planning of the new hospital building, and their ideas led to the building's shape and design. This also led Rush to plan an interventional platform: a pioneering design involving three floors that puts testing, treatment and recovery within short distances of each other, resulting in enhanced collaboration between specialists at Rush and their patients and families. Rush is one of only a few academic medical centers in the nation that incorporates this groundbreaking element.
The new hospital building will be among the first “green” hospitals in the nation and will include energy-efficient lighting, heating and cooling; indigenous landscaping; and green roofs to slow release of rainwater into sewers. Rush is seeking gold level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the project.
Stage 3: The Building Takes Shape
The ground floor will feature the McCormick Foundation Center for Advanced Emergency Response, a special emergency preparedness center like no other in the country. Capable of handling pandemics and large-scale disasters, the center will double the size of the current emergency department.
The Renée Schine Crown Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, a 72-suite unit with the only private neonatal rooms in Chicago, will be adjacent to the high-risk labor and delivery suites, so babies in distress can be in the hands of specialists within seconds.
The New Era
Rush's new hospital building represents a new era in hospital design: shaped by user input and designed from the inside out to improve quality and patient outcomes and take advantage of advanced information technology and environmentally sustainable components.
The transformation also includes renovations to Rush's existing facilities. When completed, the Rush Transformation will have changed the landscape of medicine in Chicago — and beyond.