"The epicenter of the technology circulates around the OR,"Lynch says. "Through the integration on this project, it will allowthe anesthesiologist in their workroom to see the status of a roomto see if the patient has been in, so they can better manage theirtime. Rather than paper outside the doors, LCD monitors will beoutside rooms notifying the staff of the status of the room. It'sall going to be digital and allows for better patient safety andstaff utilization, and turnaround of staff. The new facility willallow for the new technology to grow into the future."

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Expected to open in mid-2012, the 10-story building on 57thStreet from Drexel to Cottage Grove Avenues will focus its serviceson cancer, gastrointestinal disease, neuroscience, advancedsurgery, and high-technology medical imaging. Building designersRafael Viñoly Architects are creating the adaptable space byimplementing a grid system structure to the building. Each100,000-sf floorplate is constituted of a series of 102 modularcubes, which can be reconfigured based on future space needswithout altering the building frame.

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"The building is going to be more intelligent and have theinfrastructure that can support many more technologies that youcan't have in an existing building today," says Peter O'Connor ofRTKL, who is the principal-in-charge of the project's specialsystems design. "The physical layout of the building has beendesigned with these advances in technology in mind. The technologyand the layout of the building's physical space go hand-in-hand."O'Connor and Lynch say as technology changes, the physical spaceneeds for the procedures involved change as well. For example, theysay, the less invasive the surgery and the smaller the incision,the bigger the room needed to make room for technology to assist inthe procedure.

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O'Connor says older buildings can prove challenging to keepingup with ever-evolving technologies. "With a lot of major medicalcenters' facilities, you get to a point with an existing buildingwhere you can't push it any further," O'Connor says. "The structureand the technology in it cannot rise to the level where theUniversity of Chicago wants to deliver care at the forefront ofmedicine. They realize that their existing buildings could keepthem from their objective."

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The facility will replace existing general operating rooms andadult specialty care beds, and will be the centerpoint of theuniversity's Medical Center campus. The facility will link withboth the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital, opened in2005, and the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine, anoutpatient care facility. The building will be adjacent to the430,000-sf Gordon Center for Integrative Science, which opened in2005, and the 330,000-sf, 12-story Knapp Center for BiomedicalDiscovery, to open in 2009.

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"This building allows the University of Chicago to deploystate-of-the-art technology day one, but easily adapt and employthe latest technologies in five years or 10 years," O'Connor says."They need a building that can move as fast as they want to."

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