(HARTFORD, Conn.) – Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center today broke ground for its new John T. O’Connell Tower. The 10-story building, located on the north side of Saint Francis’ main campus, is a 318,000 square-foot facility, expected to begin operations by 2010.
“This is a momentous day for Saint Francis as we begin a new year with a major construction project that takes us into the next era of world-class care,” said Christopher M. Dadlez, the Hospital’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “This magnificent structure will feature state-of-the-art medical technology and spacious, comfortable patient facilities.”
The Tower is named for the late John T. O’Connell, who was treated for cancer at Saint Francis prior to his death in 1996, in recognition of a major gift from his parents, Nancy and Daniel O’Connell, of South Glastonbury. The anticipated value of the gift from the O’Connells’ estate is currently placed at a minimum of $5 million, at the time of its announcement, the largest gift in Saint Francis’ 110-year history.
Daniel O’Connell currently serves as a member of the Hospital’s Board of Directors, as well as the Boards of the Saint Francis Foundation and the Saint Francis Physician Hospital Organization (PHO).
“When our son, John, was a patient here, we were touched by the extraordinary care and compassion shown by the staff. They truly brought comfort to all three of us in our time of need,” said Mr. O’Connell.
“We are truly grateful to the O’Connells for their generous gift made through The Valencia Society, which honors those individuals who have remembered Saint Francis in their estate plans,” said Dadlez.
The O’Connell Tower will include an enlarged Emergency Department, expanding the treatment area from 49 to 68 treatment bays and increasing space for ambulances from six to 10 parking spots.
In addition, there will be 19 replacement operating rooms, 72 replacement medical/surgical patient beds and a new rooftop helipad.
The Tower will also include six orthopedic operating rooms and 63 replacement inpatient orthopedic beds for the Connecticut Joint Replacement Institute (CJRI). CJRI is a “Hospital within a Hospital,” dedicated to joint replacement surgery. Staffed by 10 fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons, CJRI maintains dedicated operating rooms, intake, preparation, recovery and post-acute areas.
The first four floors of the O’Connell Tower are anticipated to open in late 2010, with the rest of the building expected to be completed in early 2011. Total cost of the structure is set at $184 million. TRO/Jung Brannen is the architect for the project. The Turner Construction Company is the construction manager.
Founded in 1897, Saint Francis is a major teaching hospital licensed for 617 acute inpatient beds and 65 bassinets and is the largest Catholic hospital in New England.