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.

A Rush Manager’s ‘Opportunity of a Lifetime’

LaToya Artis, project manager, Office of Transformation, Rush University Medical CenterBy LaToya C. Artis

When I was a Rush University Health Systems Management student, I sometimes wondered if all of the group projects I worked on would ever pay off. Well, now I know, as they are essentially a part of my everyday life.

In my role as project manager with the Office of Transformation, I eat, sleep and breathe group projects collaborating with Rush staff to transition, renovate and relocate their departments as part of the Rush Transformation. The work is very interesting, though challenging at times, and always rewarding at the completion.

Most recently, I have had the pleasure of working with a number of Rush departments that relocated to the Orthopedic Building. Each department transition involves a great deal of planning and collaboration among the project managers, architects, contractors, moving companies, and most importantly the departments and support services. The process begins with a series of planning sessions. Continue reading

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.


Video: Rush’s Green Upgrade

Here’s a report on Rush’s green initiatives from the Live Well HD Network. It includes interviews with Mary Gregoire, co-chair of the Rush Green Team, and Joe DeVoss, assistant vice president of the Rush Office of Transformation, and student Anthony Savino.

“We want to do our part to really reduce and potentially eliminate some of the footprint we might leave behind,” Gregoire says.

[vodpod id=Video.3149429&w=500&h=335&fv=]

Rush Transformation: Climbing to the Top

Construction continues on the new hospital tower at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago

Photos by Jason Geil

By Cynthia Castronovo

After watching the progress of our new hospital from my office window for well over a year, I finally got the chance to get a firsthand look at the work taking place up close when I escorted a photojournalist to the roof to shoot some pictures.

Construction workers at Rush University Medical Center in ChicagoI grabbed my hard hat, fluorescent vest and goggles and headed to the safety trailer where we were met by one of two paramedics who are always working whenever workers are on the clock.

From there we took the hoist up 15 stories to the top of the new hospital. Based on the camaraderie within these close quarters, you wouldn’t know that there are over 500 workers on the project, ranging from iron workers, plumbers and carpenters to large equipment operators, dry wall installers and electricians.

When we finally made it to the top, the view was breathtaking — as was the wind, which was blowing at such high speeds I immediately twisted the crank on my hard hat two more notches to make sure it didn’t blow off.

Despite the cold temperatures and high winds, there was work going on everywhere I looked, from pipe fitting to welding to woodwork. And right in the middle of it all was a crew of about 25 laying the concrete floor. They reminded me of an Olympic relay team, starting with a team that poured the concrete.

Rush’s Triangle Office Building, which houses the Marketing and Communications Department, is on Van Buren Street, across the Eisenhower Expressway from the Medical Center.

Rush's Triangle Office Building is on Van Buren Street, across the Eisenhower Expressway from the Medical Center.

They would hand it off to the next team who would spread it out and smooth it over. Then the next team would dismantle the steel pipe that carried the concrete and move it to the next section where it would be reassembled to start the process over again.

As exhilarating as my trip to the top was, the first thing that I wanted to share once I settled back into my warm office was a conversation I had with a female iron worker — and mother of four — who told me that she had been working construction for over six years and that this site was the safest and cleanest one she had ever worked on. It doesn’t get any better than that!

A special thanks to photojournalist Jason Geil with Wednesday Journal Inc. for sharing his photos. I only wish I could have taken a picture of him photographing the concrete crew. He moved as if he had been working among them forever.

Cynthia Castronovo is associate director, Internal and Transformation Communications, for Rush University Medical Center. She will be contributing 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:

Winter Welcome from the Rush University Provost

By Thomas A. Deutsch, MD

At Rush University, there are a lot of new things happening, and it’s the result of our collaborative efforts across campus to bring these innovations to realization.

The transformation experienced by over 1,800 students registered for the Winter 2010 term at Rush University is impressive:

Campus Transformation

Just a year and a half ago we celebrated the groundbreaking of our new campus buildings and have now already celebrated the opening of the new student and staff parking garage and the new Orthopedic Building. The cornerstone of the Rush Transformation is our new hospital, currently under construction at the corner of Ashland Avenue and Harrison Street.

Scheduled to open in January 2012, this 14-story building will house Rush’s acute and critical care units and surgical, diagnostic and therapeutic services that utilize the most advanced technology available, while also transforming our teaching environment to provide the optimal clinical education for our students.

Web-based Resources Transformation

  • RUConnected, our new online information system for processing information about admissions, financial matters, academics, housing and more is now operational.
  • RUalert, our new notification system to reach students, faculty and staff in minutes with specific voice, text and e-mail messages, is live and is being piloted in Armour Academic Center this fiscal year.
  • RULearning, our new Learning Management System (LMS) for online and web-enhanced courses, launches winter term with Blackboard Learn 9, the newest LMS offered by Blackboard. Online tutorials are available at www.rushu.rush.edu/metc.

A Strategic Plan for Rush University

One of the hallmarks of a well-functioning organization is its ability to articulate its purpose, what it aspires to be and how it is going to get there. The “purpose” is often called its mission, the “aspiration” is usually called its vision, and the “how” is called its strategy.

For the past several years, Rush has had a clear strategic plan for achieving the vision of being recognized as “the Medical Center of Choice in the Chicago area and among the best in the United States.”

For much of the past year, an enlarging group of faculty, staff, and students has been engaged in creating an education strategic plan for Rush University. This has involved several hundred people, and many hours of meetings, brainstorming, organizing and modifications. The plan contains a freshly articulated education vision:

Rush University will use a practitioner-teacher model to develop health care leaders who collaboratively translate and develop knowledge into outstanding health care outcomes.

Thomas A. Deutsch, MD, is provost of Rush University.