Ten years after Hurricane Katrina devastated much of New Orleans’ healthcare infrastructure, the 2.3-million-square-foot University Medical Center New Orleans has opened to the public. Designed by NBBJ and built by Skanska, the project’s design ensures the city’s citizens receive quality care in a facility that protects the hospital from future natural disasters. Strategies in disaster proofing the 2.3-million-square-foot facility include:
The first floor of the hospital is designed above projected flood levels, ensuring continuation of critical services even in the midst of a natural disaster
Critical infrastructure – including the emergency department, power generation plant and enough food and water to survive off the city grid for 7 days – is located on or above the second floor
The glass façade is capable of withstanding the impacts of a major hurricane, including the force of a 2×4 hitting the exterior at 200 miles per hour
UMC New Orleans features three patient towers with a capacity for 446 beds, including 60 behavioral health beds, 19 operating rooms and an emergency department with 56 exam rooms, nine acute treatment rooms and five trauma rooms. It is the only Level 1 Trauma Center in the Region.
The project was a major economic achievement for New Orleans. To build the $1.1-billion facility, 15,000 individual workers completed construction orientation and logged a total of roughly 6.5 million hours on the job. This, along with UMC New Orleans’ 2,000 employees and 600 physicians, provide a strong economic development in the city.