Skip to main content

Highland Hospital / Facilities / Patient Tower Project


Highland Hospital’s Patient Tower Project

Tower Project image

Highland’s Tower Project is a modernization effort that will enable the hospital to provide private rooms for nearly all of our patients. The project was developed as a component of Highland’s strategic plan.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has helped to highlight that private rooms are critical for patient care. They provide many benefits including a reduced risk of infections, more space for patient needs, and the positive therapeutic impact of more privacy and less noise during recovery. Private rooms are becoming a standard of care for hospitals nationwide.

This tower will add to the existing hospital campus without the hospital having to expand its footprint. The project will add four levels plus a mechanical penthouse to the hospital’s southeast wing – three of the floors will house a total of 58 patient rooms and one floor will house other clinical programs. There will also be a small seven story infill between the existing three-story building and the existing South Wing. 

It is imperative that Highland Hospital continue to modernize our facility to provide the highest-quality patient- and family-centered care, now and into the future. Parts of Highland’s campus are nearly 95 years old, and some patient spaces do not meet the current industry standards for health care facilities. We are excited about what this project will mean for the future of serving our community. If you have questions, you’re welcome to click on the “Contact Us” button in the left hand navigation tab.

Construction Timeline:

*Dates subject to change due to weather and other potential construction issues*

  • Tower Crane removal - February of 2023
  • Estimated Project Completion – Summer 2023

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the current status of the Tower Project?

Following the approval of the Building Permit Application, work was scheduled to begin in the spring of 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, construction was delayed while our hospital prepared for a possible drastic increase in patients. Once more was known about the COVID-19 virus and how our community can prevent transmissions, we were able to restart construction starting in October 2020. Construction is now estimated to be finished in summer 2023.

What is micropiling? 

A Micropile is a method of drilling into the ground. Micropiles are generally used when there are difficult ground conditions, such as natural or man-made obstructions, sensitive ground with adjacent structures, and/or limited access to an area.

What was the result of the test piles that Highland drilled back in the spring of 2020? 

Results of the vibration monitoring indicated that, while drilling was occurring, any vibrations recorded were extremely low. 

What is a tower crane? 

A tower crane is a fixed crane that is mounted on-site and is used to build high towers. The vertical metallic structure has a horizontal boom with a 360° rotation for moving construction materials. 

What safety measures are being taken to ensure the crane is working properly?

There are multiple agencies involved in tower crane permitting and safety regulations. The City of Rochester issues the actual permit along with FAA for the air space. The tower crane foundations are required to be designed by a licensed structural engineer and inspected by the regulatory agencies along with a 3rd party certified inspector. The tower crane is required to be installed by a licensed certified Rigging contractor for the specific model tower crane. It is then inspected by the regulatory agencies and third party inspection agencies during the assembly and prior to authorizing it for use.

Additionally, the base of the tower crane will have a locking 8’ barbed wire fence surrounding the foundation to limit access to authorized personnel only. 

The Crane operators are fully licensed and certified for the specific model crane with shift limits. The crane operators will be LeChase employees with many years of experience on this specific crane. The crane operators are responsible for daily inspections while a 3rd party certified crane inspection is required monthly and annually.  

Why does the tower crane weathervane over the neighborhood?

Weathervaning is the practice of allowing a crane to, very slowly, rotate its full 360 degrees with the natural direction of the wind, instead of fighting it. The tower crane slowly weathervanes to reduce the wind drag on the jib and counter weight similar to a flag. This significantly reduces the load on the tower section and foundation in the wind. The crane will be put in weathervane mode at the end of each day or when the wind exceeds 25 mph as a safety measure.

What safety steps are taken by LeChase when significant weather events approach the area of the tower crane?

The crane and foundations have been fully designed by licensed structural engineers, inspected by third party specialty crane inspection agencies on a regular basis above the required standards. The crane will be put in weathervane mode during any inclement weather situations that deem it unsafe to operate and will not operate until conditions improve. 

Will the tower crane be hoisting materials over my home?

No material will be hoisted over any residents. The crane electronics have been calibrated so no material (weight) will be hoisted over any residents.

How long will the tower crane be up?

The crane will be taken down in the winter of 2023 (about 15 months after it was initially installed).

I’ve heard there will be road access from Mt. Vernon Ave. to the hospital driveway. Is this true?

As part of this construction project, the level of the hospital’s back loop is being raised to be on the same level as Mt. Vernon Ave. A gated entrance will be put in place of the fence that stands on Mt. Vernon Ave. today. This addition to the project is required by the Rochester Fire Department so firefighters can easily access the tower in case of an emergency. This entrance will only be used by the Rochester Fire Department or by our Facilities Department, should the need arise for large snow removal efforts. The gate will be locked when not in use.

Will lights in the building be minimized at night?

Occupancy sensors are installed in public areas such as stairwells so that lights will automatically be dimmed when they’re not in use, but patients will be in charge of the dimmer light switches in their individual rooms. Most patients do opt to turn off their room lights at night.

Will this impact the levels of traffic in the neighborhood?

Highland conducted a traffic study in 2015 that showed we are still below the traffic threshold that would have a negative impact on the neighborhood.

What’s being done to mitigate noise levels in the future mechanical penthouse?

One of the reasons the mechanical penthouse will be fully enclosed is to reduce noise levels in the neighborhood. A sound study is being conducted, as has been with past projects, to figure out the best ways to reduce noise. The hospital plans on utilizing the same technology as it used last time to reduce noise in the mechanical penthouse built in 2016 but we are looking into other noise reducing techniques as well.

One of the new floors would be for other clinical programs and another floor is strictly for the building’s mechanicals. Why must these floors be part of the tower?

The three patient care room levels must be fifth floor and above due to the requirement for windows in every patient room. The fourth floor will be for other clinical programs, which is essential for the hospital’s ability to function, but does not require windows. The mechanical level that’s currently on the top (third floor) of the South Addition will remain, as it supplies the mechanics for the operating rooms on the first floor. Another mechanical penthouse will be added to the top of the new addition to accommodate the medical equipment needed to run the new floors.

Where will the hospital build next on its campus? Will they buy neighboring properties to host future additions?

Currently, we do not have any plans for new buildings beyond the private bed addition. Highland is continually modernizing space within the existing buildings, which is historically where most of the hospital’s construction has taken place. The south addition was added in 2016, but the last major change in the hospital footprint before that was the front lobby/garage rebuild in the 1980s.

Has Highland worked with its neighbors on this project?

Since 2015, Highland officials have met regularly with the Highland Park Highland Hospital Interaction Committee (HPNHHIC) to promote healthy dialog between Highland and its neighbors about day-to-day concerns, such as parking and noise. 

How can I receive updates about this project and other projects going on at Highland Hospital?

You can receive emails that are sent out when this blog is updated by clicking on “Sign Up for Updates” in the navigation bar on the left.