Telling the Story of Rush’s New Hospital

By Lori Allen

Four nurses made a TV commercial for Rush yesterday. The “cast” arrived, their fingers full of hangers to hold their own wardrobe options.

They had no scripts. They would speak in their own words for a good two hours while an array of cameras and crew focused on their every word. It was a bit intimidating, one nurse admitted, but they would all become comfortable soon enough.

In so many ways it was like every other Rush commercial shoot. But in one big way it was so different. This group will help tell the story of the new hospital at Rush.

After a week’s worth of rain, the weather forecast looks good for today’s shoot. That’s a relief. We need it to capture a key part of our message.

Lori Allen is assistant vice president, Marketing and Communications, with Rush University Medical Center.

New Rush Entry Pavilion Begins to Take Shape

By Cynthia Castronovo

The bridge that connects the main parking garage to the Atrium Building has always been a great place to stop and get a close look at the East Tower construction. And now, the view is even more exciting because the Edward A. Brennan Entry Pavilion is finally starting to take shape with steel structures connecting the new East Tower hospital building to the Atrium Building.

The steel already is in place for the main entry vestibule and the elevated walkway that will connect the fourth floor of the Atrium to the East Tower’s fourth floor — and future home to one of three consecutive floors of the interventional platform. When it is open, this walkway, which is on the south side of the two buildings, will be accessible to patients and visitors, as well as Rush personnel.

On the north side of the building, there will be a tiered set of walkways that will connect corresponding floors on the third, fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth floors. These walkways will be for patient and staff use only. Steel already has been erected on all floors on these north walkways. The third-floor walkway will connect the non-invasive imaging floor of the East Tower to a new elevator being installed in the Atrium that will serve floors one, three, four, five, seven, eight and nine.

Cynthia Castronovo is associate director, Internal and Transformation Communications, for Rush University Medical Center. She contributes regular updates about the Rush Transformation.

Random Facts From the Rush Transformation

By Cynthia Castronovo

Oftentimes, colleagues in Marketing and Communications will come to me for information about the Rush Transformation, especially with regard to the East Tower, our new hospital building. I answer questions on a regular basis ranging from “How big will the East Tower be?” (841,000 square feet) to “How may green roofs are planned across the campus?” (at least five).

I also have learned a lot of information that no one asks about, so I thought I would share some random facts that I have found interesting but haven’t had the opportunity to pass along to anyone. I hope you find these useful.

  • Rush is required to build underground retention tanks to store rainwater for three days before it releases it into the city’s sewer system, and we currently are in the process of installing three of them for the East Tower.  To learn about our green water collection initiatives, check out the Rush News Blog.
  • Cement is one of three components used to make concrete. I still have a Post-it note on my bulletin board reminding me of this because I always seem to use the word cement (incorrectly).
  • A construction milestone occurs when the air handlers are activated on a site — this happened in August in the East Tower.
  • Millwork is custom-built furniture, while casework is prebuilt pieces that are assembled on site. I have this information on another Post-it because I still get them confused.
  • Another minor construction milestone is when the temporary hoists are removed from a construction site and the crews start to use the building’s actual elevators. One of the East Tower’s two hoists was recently removed and the second one will come down in October, and crews have begun to use the East Tower service elevators.

Cynthia Castronovo is associate director, Internal and Transformation Communications, for Rush University Medical Center. She contributes regular updates about the Rush Transformation.

Exterior of Rush Hospital Building Nears Completion

By Cynthia Castronovo

It’s strange to look up at the East Tower and see that the familiar yellow exterior is slowly disappearing. The attention-grabbing color helped to signal the new hospital building‘s presence and call attention to its unique design.

I recently asked one of the construction guys to explain to me what was happening. I saw that some of the exterior walls were black, some were brown and others white. Not surprising, the answer wasn’t as quick and easy as I’d hoped.

First, I needed to familiarize myself with some basic design components specific to our project. For instance, while we have always referred to the top five floors of the East Tower as the butterfly, I didn’t know that the base was referred to as the podium. The butterfly will house the acute and critical care patient rooms. And the podium will be the home of the emergency department, the interventional platform, noninvasive imaging, women’s services and the NICU.

Next, I learned about the two types of exterior wall systems – the curtain wall and window wall. The curtain wall is a continuous wall of windows and can be found on portions of the podium. The glass panels were specially designed and will help bring natural lighting to many areas of the new hospital. Continue reading

Rush’s New Hospital: First Celebration

By Cynthia Castronovo

I got to take another trip to the construction site last week — this time to participate in the first official celebration inside the new hospital. Over 150 “owners” of the East Tower attended a special kick-off event, highlighted by a tour of their soon-to-be new home.

This group included nurses and doctors, technicians and clinical staff, all of whom will help the Office of Transformation plan for the new hospital‘s opening in January 2012. Selected because they currently work in areas that will move over to the new hospital, these employees play a key role in the opening of the East Tower.

From here on out, they will meet on a regular basis to help plan for the move-in, as well as what happens once the doors open. Because they will begin by studying the floor plan and work flows of their area, it made sense to literally start them out in their new space.

This involved a lot preparation, from safety training for all of the owners, to choreographing the movements of such a large group using only four hoists. But the effort paid off. While some of the areas were further along in construction, everyone got a chance to walk the space and enjoy the views. And although the plans for a champagne toast on the 12th floor were shelved, there certainly was a lot of celebrating going on up there.

We’ll be following the progress of these teams over the next 20 months via blogs, Facebook and Twitter, so keep an eye out.  (In the meantime, I plan to post a blog on how we are communicating with the crews building the new hospital on Rush InPerson in the next couple of weeks.)

Cynthia Castronovo is associate director, Internal and Transformation Communications, for Rush University Medical Center. She contributes regular updates about the Rush Transformation.


Sharing the Rush Transformation

By Cynthia Castronovo

It’s hard to believe that after years of planning, Rush’s new hospital will be opening in just two years.

I starting working at Rush in the spring of 2006, charged with keeping our 10,000-plus employees, students and medical staff informed about the progress of the Transformation. At the time, the opening of our new hospital building seemed so far away and now it’s just around the corner; and I vacillate between being overwhelmed at all the work ahead of us and sad that it too quickly will be over.

View of the new Rush hospital building and Orthopedic Building on Harrison Street.

View of the new Rush hospital building and Orthopedic Building on Harrison Street.

I fully understand how lucky I am to have this unique job. After all, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me (and many others) professionally. How many people get to be a part of something like this during the course of their career — to watch a tennis court turn into a state-of-the art medical facility right before their eyes?

Despite my years of experience in public relations, I was excited to join Rush, knowing fully well that there was so much more for me to learn. Little did I realize that it would include such things as how to dismantle a tower crane, or tell the difference between an intensive and extensive green roof.

Over the next several years, I hope to share with you information about the Rush Transformation through the eye of a communicator -– anything from a virtual tour or mock-up, to a particularly lively construction meeting. Stay tuned.

Cynthia Castronovo is associate director, Internal and Transformation Communications, for Rush University Medical Center.

Rush Resources: