After two decades of existence, room occupancy at the prestigious University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center had reached capacity. An aging baby boomer population and a general need to provide state-of-the-art care to even more regional cancer patients called for expanding the specialty care facility.
Limited by real estate constraints and focused on making the absolute most of their construction dollars, some hospitals choose (or are forced) to expand up rather than out. That was the case for the MD Anderson Cancer Center Albert B. and Margaret M. Alkek Hospital expansion project; though, by most standards, this building endeavor was even more complex. The $240 million design-build project was not only a 12-story vertical expansion—it was also built on top of an operational 12-story hospital that is world-renowned for developing front-line diagnostic technology and treating cancer patients.
Located in the heart of the Texas Medical Center in Houston, the project consisted of adding 500,000 square feet of new vertical and horizontal space, renovating 50,000 square feet of existing space and constructing a new 24-story elevator tower next to the existing and continually operating 12-story hospital. Supporting the latest in medical care, the expanded Alkek Tower houses 240 inpatient rooms, a new pharmacy, facility support space, an observation deck, three shell floors with room for 144 future patient rooms and infrastructure to support the expansion.