University of Chicago Medicine and Biological Sciences

Berglund Construction frames the 3rd floor space and prepares for the electrical mechanical work.

The 3rd floor of the Comer Children’s Hospital will soon be the home of the University of Chicago Medicine’s new and improved labor and delivery (L&D) unit, expanding access to high-quality obstetric and pediatrics services for expectant and new mothers and their babies.

In November 2014, the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board unanimously approved UChicago Medicine’s Certificate of Need (CON) application to relocate and modernize the labor and delivery unit. Construction began in January 2015.

Slated to open mid-2016, the 25,000-square-foot space will contain the following:

  • 9 Labor/Delivery/Recovery Rooms (Up from 8)
  • 5 Triage Rooms (Up from 4)
  • 5 Antepartum Rooms
  • 2 Operating Rooms (C-section suites)
  • 2 Recovery Rooms
  • 2 Natural Birth Rooms (NEW)

“Each room has been designed with the patient in mind,” said Tonia Harden, L&D project manager. The rooms will be spacious, warm and inviting with high-end equipment, furniture and finishes that will set UChicago Medicine’s L&D unit a-part from the competition and provide patients with the experience they have come to expect.”

The move to Comer Children’s Hospital will also provide immediate access to the neonatal intensive care unit for high-risk expectant mothers and infants. UChicago Medicine is the South Side’s only Level 3 perinatal provider and referral center, treating women who have had little to no prenatal care and experience complicated deliveries.

The project is well underway as contractors have begun installing the L&D layout, however, there have been some challenges.

Construction on the 3rd floor has moved to a two-shift operation with contractors working a day and night shift to decrease the noise volume for patients on the 2nd and 4th floors of Comer. The day shift will be from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. for tasks that are not noise bearing. The loud impact items will take place from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

In addition, to reconfigure the 3rd floor plumbing that's needed as part of the L&D redesign, connection has to be made to the 2nd floor plumbing which impacts Comer’s pharmacy operations.

As a result, the facilities, planning, design and construction department has coordinated with pharmacy operational leaders to develop a schedule that will not interrupt pharmacy operations or service delivery.

“The department [FPDC] is working closely with organizational partners to devise timelines that will keep us on target and minimize any adverse effects for patients, said Harden.”

Until the new L&D opens, it will manage operations on the 2nd floor of the Bernard R. Mitchell Hospital.

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