Overlake Medical Center & Clinics on Monday placed the final beam atop its new five-story hospital tower under construction in Bellevue. The steel beam — signed by Overlake employees, volunteers, patients and visitors while the beam was displayed in Overlake’s main hospital lobby last month — was hoisted into place at Monday’s topping-off ceremony, a symbolic step toward opening the 240,000-square-foot tower next November.
The tower’s price tag is about $190 million, or roughly 75 percent of a $250 million, five-year renewal project at the medical campus. That three-phase construction project, known as Project FutureCare, began in 2017 and will conclude in 2022.
“One of the flagships of this new building is our brand-new childbirth center,” Thomas DeBord, Overlake’s chief operating officer, said in an interview following the topping-off ceremony.
The new childbirth center will be about 60,000-square-feet over two floors, or about double the square footage of the current childbirth center in Overlake’s PACCAR/West Garage building, DeBord said.
“That’s one of the advantages of this new building: We’re going to be able to build new, modern, all-private, much larger rooms,” DeBord said, adding that labor and delivery rooms in the new tower are going to be about 90 percent larger than Overlake’s current labor and delivery rooms. The new mother-baby rooms, where mom recovers post-delivery with baby nearby for bonding and nursing, will be about 60 percent larger. Overlake, on average, delivers about 10 babies each day.
Other facilities in the new tower will also enjoy larger rooms with more privacy.
“The entire building is built as all private rooms with private bathrooms and showers; whereas, some of our older buildings like our East Tower, which was built in the early ‘60s, and then our West Tower — a lot of those rooms were built as semi-private rooms,” DeBord said. “We use them for the most part as private rooms, unless we get to a really busy time where we have to surge up because of a real busy flu season … we have the ability to double patients up in some of those rooms.”
The new tower will have about 121 beds. Overlake has about 281 in service now, including its neonatal ICU. The East Tower, with 83 beds, will be razed in late 2021-early 2022, meaning the net new beds at Overlake will grow by 11, to 292, when Project FutureCare is completed in 2022. The hospital is licensed for 349 beds.
Other features of the new tower, which will become the new East Tower, will include a floor for telemetry cardiac patients, medical and oncology patients, and a floor for orthopedic patients, the latter of whom are now split between Overlake’s East and West towers, DeBord said.
The psychiatric unit in the current East Tower will get a new space in the PACCAR/West Garage building in 2021 — after the childbirth center moves and its existing space is renovated — with design allowing the number of psychiatric beds, now at 14, to possibly grow to 22 or 25 in the future.
“There is a huge need for psychiatric inpatient beds,” DeBord said. “Overlake has been committed to being a leader in psychiatric services on the Eastside.”
DeBord said the new tower design included input from staff, physicians, executive leaders, hospital and foundation board members, and a patient family advisory council comprising current and former patients and their families.
The campus redesign incorporates natural light into the new tower’s interior spaces, parklike landscaping, and pedestrian-friendly pathways from the Sound Transit Wilburton station two blocks away, according to an Overlake news release.
Overlake also recently opened two new operating room suites in mid-November.
One is a primary cardiovascular OR for procedures including open-heart coronary artery bypass surgery, various aortic aneurysm repairs, and aortic or mitral valve replacements, and minimally invasive valve replacements. The other is a hybrid OR — a cardiac OR and cardiac catheterization lab, DeBord said.
Other Project FutureCare work includes: a new emergency department entrance off Northeast 10th Street for improved patient drop-off; a new circle drive leading to the main hospital entrance with concourse entry points, enhanced wayfinding, and intuitive patient flow; and improved ancillary and support services, including the laboratory, pharmacy, and respiratory care, according to hospital documents.
The new tower’s contractor is GLY Construction and the architect is NBBJ.