Banner Health Tower Changing Face of Phoenix Health Care

The Banner University Medical Center Phoenix opened the doors to its new patient tower, which features four intensive care unit (ICU) floors, seven medical-surgical floors, one behavioral health floor and one shell floor.

The new tower, which began serving patients on Nov. 5, was erected on top of the medical center’s three-story emergency department building. Both buildings were designed with the involvement of WSP USA. HKS Inc. is the architect for the project, and DPR Construction is the general contractor.

WSP designed the building systems of the 400,000-square-foot tower and 293,000-square-foot podium building, including mechanical-electrical-plumbing (MEP) engineering and medical gas system design.

The project involves a chiller building, supply chain building, medium-voltage power plant, main campus entry/lobby and extensive renovations to the existing hospital. The combined total of the emergency department and tower project accounts for 1,150,000 square feet of new and renovated space.

Building systems include a new 12.47kV normal distribution system, a new 10MW 4.16kV emergency power plant, new heating hot water system and a 1,045-ton chiller and cooling tower expansion.

“This emergency department and patient tower expansion will provide a new face, capacity, and capabilities to the flagship Banner Health facility,” said Jared Mason, the firm’s project manager and lead electrical engineer.

“This is the largest health care project that Arizona has seen over the past several years,” Mason said.

On Nov. 10, WSP led a tour of the facility as part of the Healthcare Design Expo + Conference in Phoenix. WSP representatives participating in the tour with Mason included Nolan Rome, principal-in-charge; David Moore, lead mechanical engineer; Alexandra Pearson and Alec Zimmerman.

Check out “17 Fun Facts About BUMCP ED and Tower,” a handout that was available to visitors during the tour.



The 13-story tower was constructed above the emergency department at Banner University Medical Center Phoenix.

Standard Level of Care

Construction of the $324 million project is scheduled for full completion in early 2020. Mason said the project is currently on schedule and on budget. The emergency department and tower are both open to the public, but demolition of the West Tower section of the facility continues, as well as existing hospital renovations and construction of a new main campus entry.


West Tower is among the few existing structures of the original Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, which opened in 1923, but is in need of an overhaul.


“The first goal of this project is to provide a state-of-the-art facility to replace the outdated West Tower,” Mason said. “The second goal is to allow the existing ancillary patient tower to be changed from shared patient rooms to private patient rooms. As private patient rooms have become a standard level of care, the new patient tower will also provide enough new rooms to allow for renovation of all existing rooms to single-bed occupancy.”


Finally, he said the project will provide “immediate capacity increases” to support an aging population. “In addition to the new patient tower, we have provided infrastructure to support an additional patient tower to be constructed in the near future,” Mason added. “These advances will result in an immediate enhancement to the community and provide a platform for continued future improvements.”


It is now the tallest and largest hospital in Arizona.



The new surgical recovery area at Banner University Medical Center Phoenix.

Banner Relationship

WSP has forged a successful working relationship with Banner Health over the past decade.


“Banner Health has been a valued client since shortly after our office was opened in Phoenix in 2008,” Mason said. “Over the years, we have completed more than 100 projects for Banner that ran the full gamut of size and complexity.”


Previous Banner Health projects have included:


•           Banner Gateway Cancer Center, phase 2;

•           Banner Desert Medical Center, patient floor renovations;

•           Banner Boswell, hybrid operating room project;

•           Banner Casa Grande, main lobby renovation;

•           Banner Thunderbird Surgery Center, code evaluation and upgrades.


“We have also completed master plan evaluations for Banner Boswell, Banner Desert, Banner Casa Grande, Banner Thunderbird and Banner Behavioral Health Hospital,” Mason added. “These projects helped plan the future expansion and renovation of the respective campuses for the next 20 years.”


The project team is using co-location and integrated project delivery (IPD) to ensure a cohesive team approach and to assist with overcoming complex design and construction challenges.


MEP challenges included construction of 17-story building over an existing campus main distribution frame (MDF) room located in an excavated basement while maintaining full facility operation and access, building the hospital expansion over the existing MEP spine connecting the existing central plant to the campus, replacing the chiller plant main header while maintaining constant campus cooling, and back-feeding 10,000 amps of 480V power to the existing campus while minimizing disruptions.


Mason said he has worked at the hospital site three days a week since the emergency department renovation project began more than four years ago. When the design and construction team transitioned to the tower project, he said the IPD approach used by the participants was “an unqualified success.”


“The IPD team on this project has integrated exceedingly well,” Mason said. “The IPD process has helped us leave traditionally adversarial relationships between design teams and contractors in the dust. Instead, we work together toward the singular goal of producing an exceptional product for the owner.”


Located only a few miles away from WSP’s Tempe office, Mason said this is a project that literally and figuratively hits close to home.


“This project is a source of personal pride for me not only due to the size of the project,” he said, “but because it is a project in my community.”


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The Banner University Medical Center Phoenix tower adds four ICU floors, seven medical-surgical floors, and two shell floors to the facility.

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