Orlando Health’s new 245-bed, 10-story, 345,000-square-foot Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC) North Tower opened to the public on January 12, 2015, after being completed by a team including general contractor Brasfield & Gorrie and architectural firm HKS Architects Inc.

The new tower features all private rooms, centralized registration, in-room computers to enable caregivers to chart at patients’ bedside, safety “red lines” that are integrated into acute-care rooms to identify isolation boundaries, and concierge-style amenities.

The new tower’s architecture and interior design are inspired by Florida’s natural beauty, as evidence-based design shows that nature improves healing and well-being. Natural elements are captured in numerous aspects, including the curve of the building, the suspended sphere lighting in the atrium, and natural light from expansive windows and glass walls.

Sustainability was a key focus during the design and construction of the new tower. A number of steps were taken to improve energy efficiency, including the site location, the angle of the building to capture the best lighting solutions, greenscape methods and materials, as well as light sensors and electronic eyes on faucets. Sustainable, durable building materials were selected to eliminate the need for replacement for many years to come. These materials, such as stone, porcelain tile, solid surface materials, and glass, resulted in lower operating costs, reduced energy use, and increased building efficiency.

The location of the new tower near a city center presented a challenge early in the construction process. Due to the site location, Brasfield & Gorrie’s construction team had to rework the underground infrastructure of an entire city block. During this process, the team relocated more than 2,600 linear feet of storm sewer piping, more than a mile of sanitary sewer piping, and nearly 2,000 linear feet of domestic water piping. Much of this work occurred underneath major public roadways, presenting schedule challenges and requiring strategic planning to minimize disruptions to streets and traffic flow.

The North Tower is one part of the hospital’s redesign and renovation project, which includes an expanded emergency department, cardiovascular service areas, operating suites, and other ancillary services located inside ORMC South Tower. The South Tower expansion is expected to be completed in 2015. The entire redesign and renovation project, an estimated cost of $297 million, represents one of the largest and most significant projects in ORMC’s history.