$400M Expansion for UMC Tucson

Rendering by Shepley Bulfinch

Boston – Shepley Bulfinch has been selected to lead the programming, planning, and design of a new $400 million, 700,000sf clinical tower at the Banner – University Medical Center Tucson in Tucson, Ariz.

A ground-breaking ceremony was held in May for the new nine-story, 204-bed medical tower, which replaces an aging portion of the existing hospital. The new facility will feature updated and expanded operating rooms with an integrated imaging and interventional floor and will enhance the patient experience with all-private patient rooms.

In 2014 Shepley Bulfinch was retained to develop a master plan that would most effectively provide space for new high-acuity diagnostic and treatment services, connect with the existing complex, and create a new entrance and identity that would emphasize a new beginning for the 50-year-old institution. The master plan included more than 800,000sf of new construction and 150,000sf of renovation. Site planning, including site water mitigation, new vehicular access and circulation, and a future parking garage, were all addressed in the master plan.

Due to the larger size of the medical center and a finite urban site, the bed tower was stacked on top of the base instead of adjacent to it. As a result, Shepley Bulfinch had to develop a new massing approach that allowed for effective circulation while maintaining a positive patient and visitor experience.


Built in 1971, the existing hospital building will remain part of the medical campus, but will be repurposed for use as administrative space. In addition to the master plan, Shepley Bulfinch completed a renovation and expansion of the surgical services unit at the University of Arizona Medical Center in 2013, before it was acquired by Banner Health.

Co-location is the practice of having design and construction team members work together for a substantial portion of each week with the goal of significant savings in time, dollars and effort while enhancing the quality of the documents, construction process and finished building. Banner Health had seen the benefits of co-location on two previous projects so the project team established “The Big Room” in Tucson where team members spend three days each week.

Owned by Banner Health, Banner – UMC Tucson is the region’s only academic medical center and the only level one trauma center in southern Arizona.

“Shepley Bulfinch is a very strong firm with academic medical center experience, and that’s one of many reasons we selected them to design the tower,” said Stephen Brigham, project executive, Banner Health – Development & Construction at Banner – University Medical Center. “We were very impressed with their work on the master plan and the Planned Area Development (PAD) document, and we felt they had the knowledge, capability and enthusiasm to exceed our expectations. So far, we have been proven right.”

The project team includes:

  • Associate Architect and Engineer – GLHN Architects and Engineers, Tucson, AZ
  • Contractor – Sundt | DPR Construction (a joint venture), Tucson, AZ
  • MEP Design Engineer – AEI, Affiliated Engineers Inc., Phoenix, AZ
  • Structural Design Engineer – Martin, White & Griffis, Tucson, AZ
  • Civil Design Engineer – Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc., Tucson, AZ
  • Landscape Architect – Norris Design, Phoenix, AZ