SLAM, Perkins&Will Unveil Healthcare Hub 

University of Rochester Orthopaedics & Physical Performance Center / Renderings courtesy of RM Studio/Bob Masulis 

Rochester, NY – The S/L/A/M Collaborative (SLAM), along with project partner and design architect Perkins&Will, recently unveiled plans for the new University of Rochester Orthopaedics & Physical Performance Center.

Phase one of the outpatient campus will be located in a former Sears retail space at the Marketplace Mall in Henrietta. Once all phases of the project are complete, it will be one of the largest outpatient orthopaedics facilities in the Northeast.

University of Rochester Orthopaedics & Physical Performance Center

SLAM representatives say the new facility reflects a convergence between the surge in e-commerce resulting in available retail spaces and a growing demand for more robust healthcare infrastructure across the country. “As healthcare facilities across the U.S. look to decentralize their services, the adaptive reuse of underutilized retail space represents a huge opportunity for institutions like the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) to expand their outpatient reach by moving to the mall,” says Scott Hansche, AIA, principal-in-charge at SLAM, who serves as architect of record for the project.

The full $227 million, 350,000sf facility includes a 210,000sf renovated space and a new 140,000sf outpatient clinical services building that will house 140 exam rooms for orthopaedic care. Designed to be patient-oriented, the team brought daylight into the existing Sears footprint through a series of skylights and an internal courtyard that also functions as a rehabilitation space. Overall, the building’s sinuous facade is designed to represent the idea of movement, emblematic of the orthopaedic care provided within its walls.

According to SLAM representatives, the new facility reflects a current urgency to find design solutions that expand infrastructure into underserved regions, helping to address the country’s healthcare equity gaps. One of the goals for the design team was to foster a feeling of familiarity and accessibility. The focus on accessibility was amplified through a series of decentralized entry points and the addition of a dedicated bus stop outside of the outpatient facility along the mall’s usual route.

University of Rochester Orthopaedics & Physical Performance Center

Hansche says breathing a second life into an expansive yet under-utilized retail complex also yields both economic and environmental benefits, allowing the design team to repurpose existing infrastructure and resources, while reducing costs and construction times. “We broke ground in June 2021 and the renovated portion is expected to be complete and opened by 2022,” he says. “This speed to market scenario is a win-win for our team and URMC. With no need for permitting or no new roads, for example, we were able to focus on the university’s vision of growing their orthopaedics practice and integrating outpatient radiology, surgery, and treatment in one facility.”

The renovated portion of the project is 210,000sf of a surgical platform with three operating rooms, a three-room procedure suite, advanced imaging, clinical research, education, administration, physical therapy, and a human performance and injury prevention center.

The multiphase project will be complete by 2023. The first phase, relocating the orthopaedic administrative offices to an adjacent renovated lease space, was complete and occupied in the fall of 2021. The second phase, the conversion of the former Sears store to an outpatient surgical center, will be complete by fall 2022. This will be followed by a rehab and sports performance center in spring of 2023, and a 4-story, 144-bed clinic space in the fall of 2023.