Jul 12, 2023 - Development

Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center expands with 12-story bed tower

Atrium Health

Courtesy of Atrium Health

A 1.1 million-square-foot tower with 448 patient beds is going up at Atrium Health’s flagship campus near Dilworth.

Why it matters: The expansion project at Carolinas Medical Center will help meet the demands of the growing regional population and incorporate updated medical technology. Plans also include a new emergency department, which should help alleviate other crowded ERs.

  • “Especially coming out of the pandemic, we’ve made a lot of strides in terms of dramatic decreases in wait times,” Dan Handel, chief medical officer for the Central Area of Atrium Health, tells Axios. “That gets you only so far, so the next step is, we need to add more beds and buildings.”

What’s happening: Atrium held a ceremonial groundbreaking Wednesday on the site, which formerly was the aging Blythe Road parking deck and Carolinas Rehabilitation facility. It’s between the Rush S. Dickson Tower, currently the primary bed facility, and the David L. Conlan Center, which opened in January.

  • Once the tower is complete in spring 2027, the buildings will connect via walk and breezeways.
Carolinas Medical Center Atrium Health
Photo: Alexandria Sands/Axios

Details: Set to be the largest structure on the campus, the tower will also include:

  • 38 operating rooms
  • 16 procedure rooms
  • A pod-style emergency department with 62 exam rooms
  • A helipad
  • An “open core model” in the nursing units on inpatient floors, designed to facilitate collaboration between teammates and improve visibility and access to patients
  • Dedicated space on each floor for staff
  • Open public spaces

The big picture: Atrium has planned and designed this expansion for over five years. It’s part of a larger transformation happening on the campus and across Atrium’s system. Since 2018, the hospital has embarked on $1-plus billion in capital expenditure investment projects.

  • A short drive from Carolinas Medical Center, construction is underway on the Wake Forest University School of Medicine at The Pearl in midtown. Hospital leaders say the new tower will serve as a training space for students at the four-year med school, opening in 2025.

Go deeper: Work begins on Charlotte’s innovation district and med school campus

Courtesy of Atrium Health
Carolinas Medical Center Atrium Health
Photo: Alexandria Sands/Axios
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