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UNC Set To Break Ground On New Surgery Tower

UNC Health Care is in the final stages before breaking ground on its new surgical tower on the Chapel Hill campus.

The $290 million project won't add any new operating rooms, but will replace all 24 surgical suites from Memorial Hospital. While those operating rooms have undergone renovations, they were first built more than 50 years ago, and are too small, according to UNC. The average OR size will increase from 450 square feet to 660 square feet, with some as large as 1,000 square feet.

"Surgery in general has changed over the past 50 years. There's been vast improvements in technology, and an increase in the complexity of procedures. And that requires more space," said UNC Health Care Spokesman Alan Wolf. "What we're hoping is that this new facility will allow us to have more space for surgical teams, and to improve efficiencies."

From a visual standpoint, the project will change much of the front facade of the hospital complex off Manning Drive in Chapel Hill. The seven story surgery tower is expected to open in 2022.

The project initiallycarried a price tag of $177 million, but UNC decided to add to the tower and needed to budget for other infrastructure repairs.

Jason deBruyn is the WUNC health reporter, a beat he took in 2020. He has been in the WUNC newsroom since 2016.
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