Get a first look at Utah Valley Hospital’s Sorenson Legacy Tower

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Ryan Hecox, medical physicist at Intermountain Hospital, explains the X-ray machine and room at the new Sorenson Legacy Tower. The linear accelerator (LINAC) is used to deliver external beam radiation treatments to cancer patients. The walls surrounding the room has high-density walls up to four feet thick. (Photo by Rebecca Lane/UV360)

Utah Valley Hospital is opening its doors to the public on Saturday to get a first look at the Sorenson Legacy Tower, the first completed phase of its $430 million hospital replacement project.

The nine-story building was the hospital’s biggest philanthropic effort to date. For the Sorenson Legacy Tower, the hospital raised $35, 754,000 from the community in a total of 1,539 gifts.

“When you have something tremendously visible and that people can connect to, and healthcare is one of those things, people see the importance,” said Janet Frank, Intermountain Healthcare’s spokeswoman. “A lot of the donors have had personal experiences at the hospital and that has impacted their decision to donate.”

Steve Smoot, Intermountain Hospital’s associate chief operations officer specialty based care, was assigned to raise the funds for the tower. During the ribbon cutting ceremony, Smoot talked about the many donors, which included hospital employees. Many hospital employees opted to participate in the One-Hour Club. Club members donated one hour of their pay from each pay period toward the hospital expansion project.

Throughout the Sorenson Legacy Center, there are two hallways connected to each patient treatment room. The patient’s hallway is the on-stage hallway while the doctors and nurses use the off-stage hallway. (Photo by Rebecca Lane/UV360)

“With those who had the capacity and the ability to give, I was able to meet some of the very best people that I’ve ever met in my life,” Smoot said. “The best of Utah County. The best in this world.”

The Sorenson Legacy Tower was built with the patients in mind, according to Eric Liston, regional operations officer at Intermountain Medical Group. Liston shared how design decisions were made by bringing in doctors and nurses and making adjustments in order to provide better care.

“It’s about the patients and doing the right thing for them,” Liston said.

Throughout the hospital, the new design’s key feature is the on-stage and off-stage areas. There are hallways built for patient access as well as private hallways for staff use and transporting patients. Currently, doctors and nurses use the same hallways as patients in the other building to accomplish behind-the-scenes tasks.

“Currently we are wheeling patients down public corridors. We have trash, we have food waste and stuff like that is going down main lobbies and that’s not cool,” said Josh Rohatinksy, project manager for the hospital replacement project. “We don’t want anyone to see that in a hospital, so it both this building and the hospital, we’ve amped up that on-stage, off-stage concept just so everything on-stage is what people should see and everything they shouldn’t is off-stage.”

The InstaCare is expanding its hours in the new tower. It will be open from 8 a.m. until midnight, which adds four hours to its current 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. schedule. The renamed Utah Valley InstaCare is inside the top level of the parking lot.

“It’s a big difference and support for the community just because the cost of care is so high and things happen after 9 p.m.,” Rohatinsky said. “You don’t want people going to the E.R. when they could come to an InstaCare and could pay a co-pay as opposed to going to the E.R. and racking up some bills they don’t need.”

The LiVe Well Center in the Sorenson Legacy Tower has a gym and a kitchen for classes. (Photo by Rebecca Lane/UV360)

The Education Center includes a 6,000-square-foot Ashton Auditorium, which will serve as a staff meeting place. Previously, Intermountain staff needed to meet off campus in order to find a space large enough for the staff. Plus, the auditorium can split into six different classrooms for smaller meeting areas.

Besides patient treatment areas, the hospital includes instructional rooms for doctors and nurses to continue their education. The O.R. suite has new observation rooms and training rooms are 620 square feet whereas before the rooms were only 400-450 square feet.

The new patient rooms are double in size to the former rooms. Plus, Intermountain is adding fold-out, full-size beds to place in the rooms for family members staying with patients.

Once the new 12-story patient tower is completed — which has an anticipated opening in December 2018 — Intermountain will tear down the current patient tower behind the Sorenson Legacy Tower. Intermountain will then build a healing garden, including walkways and a pond.

The Medical Oncology Center will look out on the healing garden so that patients can see the outdoors while receiving chemotherapy. There are 14 total infusion bays in the infusion bays, some private and some open.

Besides care pods for the sick, the Sorenson Legacy Tower will house the new LiVe Well Center. The hospital will provide programs and classes, including cooking classes and exercise classes.

Each floor has a theme with its colors and artwork. For example, the Pediatric Center has purple walls and animal pictures hung on the walls.

To celebrate the Sorenson Legacy Tower opening on Feb. 12, Utah Valley Hospital is hosting a community open house on Saturday, Feb. 3. There will be a free exercise class at 8 a.m. in Ashton Auditorium in the Education Center. Then from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. families can tour the new building. There will also be giveaways, door prizes and performers. Learn more about the event at intermountainhealthcare.org.

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Rebecca Lane

While her first language is sarcasm, Rebecca dabbles in English and Russian to achieve her lifelong dream of being a journalist. A BYU sports fan, reading enthusiast and wannabe world traveler, Rebecca is a Colorado transplant that is convinced Colorado's mountains are much larger than the many Utah County peaks. Rebecca manages UtahValley360.com for Bennett Communications. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccalane.

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