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New $450M Hospital Care Tower Planned Near Downtown Winston-Salem, N.C.

Mon May 17, 2021 - Southeast Edition
Wake Forest Baptist Health

The care tower will be built where Parking Deck B currently stands.
The care tower will be built where Parking Deck B currently stands.

Patients and visitors to the main campus of Wake Forest Baptist Center will soon notice prep work under way on a new $450 million care tower in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The long-time regional hospital announced recently that the project will include an upgraded emergency department, modern operating rooms and enhanced adult intensive care units. The medical facility said, in a press release, that the construction project "is the next step in a series of significant investments in the Triad as a result of Wake Forest Baptist Health's strategic combination with Atrium Health."

The Triad is made up of the cities of Winston-Salem, Greensboro and High Point, along with many smaller communities.

Plans call for the new care tower to be constructed where the hospital's Parking Deck B currently stands. Before the deck can be demolished, two helipads will be built atop Parking Deck C, near the ER and the Comprehensive Cancer Center, to accommodate Wake Forest Baptist's AirCare medical helicopters, and those from other hospitals and air ambulance providers.

In addition, according to the Wake Forest Baptist Health news release, a new elevator — which will be large enough to accommodate a stretcher and several staff members — will be installed in Parking Deck C to allow patients to be transported quickly and more safely from helicopters to the ER, trauma center and operating rooms. The new care tower, too, also will have a helipad built upon it.

Once those tasks are completed, the entire Parking Deck B will be removed.

"As a leading academic health system, we are committed to growing and adapting to meet the needs of our community and our region," said Julie Ann Freischlag in a statement. She is also CEO of Wake Forest Baptist Health, dean of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine and chief academic officer of Atrium Health.

"This new, world-class facility will allow us to enhance our clinical capabilities and provide leading-edge educational and research opportunities to help improve trauma and emergency care in our region and across the country."

"As the only Level I Trauma Center and Burn Center in the region, we serve patients and their families from not only North Carolina, but from surrounding states," added Cathleen Wheatley, president of the medical center. "Many people have been working behind the scenes on this project for quite some time and we are eager to begin construction on this tower that will enable us to provide even better life-saving care to those who count on us."

Because the tower is being built on an existing footprint, Wake Forest Baptist said it will communicate changes in parking and traffic flow on campus before and throughout the construction process, so patients and visitors better understand how to navigate and access the busy medical center.

The new care tower is expected to be completed by the end of 2025.

Wake Forest Baptist's two main components are an integrated clinical system — anchored by its medical center, an 885-bed tertiary-care hospital in Winston-Salem that includes Brenner Children's Hospital, both just blocks away from the city's downtown. It also includes five community hospitals, more than 350 primary and specialty care locations and over 2,500 physicians. The other integral part of the hospital system is the Wake Forest School of Medicine, a recognized leader in experiential medical education and groundbreaking research that includes Wake Forest Innovations, a commercialization enterprise focused on advancing health care through new medical technologies and biomedical discovery.

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