Atrium Health leaders today broke ground to signify the official beginning of construction on the new $450 million care tower on the campus of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
For the past six months, crews have been removing a parking deck, completing the new helipad and preparing the site for construction.
The care tower will include an upgraded emergency department, state-of-the-art operating rooms and enhanced adult intensive care units. In addition, larger and brighter rooms with more natural light and increased privacy, along with new outdoor green space, will help promote wellness and healing and reduce stress on patients, their families and staff.
The project is the first in a series of significant investments in the Triad region as a result of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist’s strategic combination with Atrium Health.
“Today’s groundbreaking of our new care tower is not just a brick-and-mortar investment in Winston-Salem, it’s a reflection of our commitment to the entire Triad region and part of a series of investments that will benefit both patients and the broader community,” said Eugene A. Woods, president & CEO of Atrium Health. “Atrium Health is proud to be a member of the Winston-Salem community. And through our $3.4 billion investment into the region, we will not only provide excellent clinical care, but also help drive the local economy by creating more jobs, bringing training to the next generation of medical professionals and reinforcing Winston-Salem as the destination for care in the country.”
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is the region’s only Level I adult trauma center and Level I pediatric trauma center and one of only two burn centers in the state. Wake Forest University School of Medicine is a recognized leader in experiential learning and groundbreaking research and is the academic core of Atrium Health.
“As the only academic learning health system in the region, patients come to us from near and far to receive care from some of the most renowned faculty and dedicated staff in the country,” said Dr. Julie Ann Freischlag, CEO of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, dean of Wake Forest University School of Medicine and chief academic officer at Atrium Health. “This new facility will allow us to enhance our clinical capabilities, build on our expertise, expand our educational and research opportunities and continue to attract the best and brightest learners, who are the next generation of health care professionals.”
Each year, around 100,000 patients come through the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center emergency department; more than 4,300 injured adults and children are cared for at the Level I trauma center; and more than 500 adults and children are cared for in the burn center.
“The emergency department, operating room and intensive care areas are among the most stressful and tense areas for patients and teammates alike,” said Cathleen A. Wheatley, president of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “We know that larger, brighter areas for staff, more natural light in patient areas, and access to outdoor green space for teammates and families help reduce stress and promote both wellness and healing. Our new facility will offer all of this.”
The general contractor for the project is a joint venture between Brasfield & Gorrie and Frank L. Blum Construction Co. and the architects are HKS and CPL. Hundreds of local construction and design workers are involved in the project.
The care tower project is expected to be fully completed in 2026.