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    Philadelphia Business Journal: Get a sneak peak inside Penn Medicine's $1.5B pavilion project

    August 27, 2019


    by John George

    The University of Pennsylvania Health System is making progress on its $1.5 billion patient pavilion, which is set to open during the summer of 2021.

    The 17-story pavilion will house 500 private patient rooms , 47 operating rooms and a 61-room emergency department. The 1.5-million-square-foot health center is going up across from the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania and adjacent to the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine.

    Check out the photo gallery for shots of how the pavilion looks today, renderings of what it will look like when completed, and photos of what’s going on at the remote construction warehouse.

    Steven Greulich, associate vice president for large capital projects at Penn Medicine, said the pavilion — an extension of HUP — will be connected to HUP and the Pereleman Center, as well as the University City SEPTA Station, through a series of bridges and an underground tunnel.

    “We are going to have the Disney model with ‘on-stage’ and ‘off-stage’ areas,” Greulich said. The on-stage area will be where patients and visitors go, while the off-stage areas not visible to the public will be where hospital staff moves about most of the time.

    Greulich said one feature of the project is the amount of prefabrication taking place offsite in a warehouse a few miles away in Grays Ferry.

    Items such as bathroom pods and other large-scale pieces such as headwalls, electrical rooms, charting stations and operating-room components are being assembled in the warehouse, then sent on trucks to the construction site at night and hoisted onto various floors by crane.

    “Anything we can do off-site means fewer workers, less congestion and less debris onsite,” Greulich said. Building off-site, he said, also reduces the risk of construction-site injuries and improves quality control since work can be checked before it leaves for the site.

    Penn officials said off-site manufacturing allows it to use higher-quality materials while staying within budget because deliveries to the pavilion site can be consolidated into fewer loads and made during off-peak hours.

    About 1,000 people are working on the pavilion project, with 850 construction workers onsite and another 40 at the warehouse. Penn also has around 110 project managers and staff onsite.

    The project set the record for the largest concrete pour ever in Philadelphia, according to Penn.

    Among the pavilion’s planned features are:

    • An adaptable room concept in which patient rooms are equipped to flex between an intensive care setup, if needed, and a standard room as patients recover, or as the patient population and caregiving needs change in coming years;
    • Hybrid operating rooms used for both surgeries and high-tech interventional procedures through patient recovery and discharge;
    • Telemedicine functionality that allows remote monitoring and consultations, as well as technology to link patients to friends and families at all times.


    Design and planning for the pavilion was orchestrated by PennFIRST, an integrated project delivery team comprised of health care design firm HDR, architect Foster+Partners, engineering firm BR+A, and construction managers L.F. Driscoll and Balfour Beatty.


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