The UR Medicine Orthopaedics & Physical Performance Center project marks a milestone today at The Marketplace Mall in Henrietta, as University of Rochester and community officials gather for a groundbreaking on the 19.1-acre campus.
The project, first announced in November 2019, will combine ambulatory surgery and other essential orthopaedic services in one easily accessible location to meet the growing demand for musculoskeletal care.
Work is well underway at the site to retool the former Sears building into an ambulatory surgery center specially designed for orthopaedic procedures. Today’s ceremony signals the start of the project’s centerpiece: a four-story patient care tower designed for next-generation orthopaedic care – where many traditional hospital-based surgeries will make way for same-day procedures, and where the clinical focus shifts from treating diseases and injuries after they occur toward a holistic approach that also supports injury prevention and overall wellness.
“This new orthopedics center will allow us to serve an even larger population within the region we call our home,” said Sarah C. Mangelsdorf, President and G. Robert Witmer, Jr. Professor at the University of Rochester. “It epitomizes our commitment to the Rochester community and the Western New York region, providing medical services of the highest order in a location that is easily accessible from every direction – north, south, east, and west.”
“The tower that we’re breaking ground on today will complete our vision to provide patients across Upstate New York one of the largest and most advanced orthopaedic care facilities in the nation,” said Mark Taubman, MD, CEO, University of Rochester Medical Center.
In choosing The Marketplace Mall, UR Medicine is in line with a growing national trend: reclamation and repurposing of massive mall properties by academic medical centers.
LeChase Construction has been busy since 2020 stripping the former Sears building down to its bones. The massive building, with wide spaces between girders, make it ideal for repurposing it as a modern surgery center with generously sized operating and treatment rooms. New construction there began in early 2021.
Upon opening in 2022, the surgery center will have eight operating rooms plus pre- and post-operative rooms and services to usher in a new era in orthopaedic surgery, where even some of the most complex orthopaedic procedures will be ambulatory; it’s estimated that by 2026, half of joint replacement surgeries in the U.S. will be same-day procedures.
The $227 million Orthopaedics & Physical Performance Center will be nearly three times the size of UR Medicine’s largest orthopaedic outpatient facility at Clinton Crossings, which is 120,000 square feet and regularly sees 17,000 patients a month.
UR Medicine is expanding to meet current and future patient demand for musculoskeletal services for patients of all ages. It has seen a 25 percent increase in orthopaedic surgery cases and a 60 percent increase in ambulatory visits over the past seven years.
“We are not only getting bigger, but in the spirit of the University of Rochester, we are getting ever better, said Paul Rubery, MD, Department of Orthopaedics Chair and Marjorie Strong Wehle Professor of Orthopaedics at the University of Rochester. “This facility will ensure easy access, the latest and best in orthopaedic care, and an excellent experience for our patients and their families.”
Most orthopaedic outpatient programs now at Clinton Crossings will move to the new site. UR Medicine Orthopaedics plans to retain its other suburban Rochester locations, including those in Victor, Webster, Greece, and Penfield. And it continues to expand its presence in Western New York and the Southern Tier, providing surgical services at FF Thompson Hospital in Canandaigua; Noyes Memorial Hospital in Dansville, and St. James Hospital in Hornell.
In the past three years more than 150,000 patients from areas outside the Rochester area have received care from UR Medicine Orthopaedics. In that time, the department has treated patients from a total of 26 counties throughout Western New York.
LeChase has moved more than 10,000 cubic yards of earth to prepare the site for construction of the tower, which will have clinic exam rooms, occupational and physical therapy, diagnostic imaging – virtually everything needed for comprehensive musculoskeletal care. More than 2,000 tons of steel will be used to build out the project.
The project benefits the local economy, creating more than 300 construction jobs at LeChase and generating business for local construction supply firms. And it meets the guidelines for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), a globally recognized sustainability certification. LEED-compliant structures are energy- and water-efficient to reduce waste and lower their environmental impact and operating costs.
The new campus will also become home base for many members of the Orthopaedics team; approximately 250 patient care and administrative staff are set to move into new offices there in September.