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$430M Provo hospital upgrade kicks off to healthy start

PROVO — Instead of gold shovels, Intermountain Healthcare officials operated several small excavators on Wednesday to commemorate the start of a major Utah Valley Regional Medical Center hospital replacement project.

"I'm just amazed at the opportunity for transformation that we see here in front of us and the impact that this will have, not just on Provo but our entire valley," said Provo Mayor John Curtis.

The new building is a $430 million investment designed to serve the community for decades and will be one of the biggest health care projects in the valley, according to Steve Smoot, CEO of the medical center.

Todd Pedersen, CEO of Vivint and co-chairman of the facility's fundraising campaign, discussed how the new building will better support medical staff in making patients' visits more comfortable.

"I can't tell you the number of people who work at Vivint who have been blessed by this care giving group and this hospital, so for me it is incredibly important to be part of this, to help lead this campaign to fundraise," said Pederson, who also announced that the Pederson Family Foundation will be donating an additional $10 million to the project.

The renovated campus will include a 12-story patient tower with large rooms displaying the nature of Utah Valley, and will replace the current seven-story tower that was built in the 1970s.

Other features include structural designs that provide spaces where tasks not involving patients directly can be completed without disrupting the guests during their stay.

A nine-story outpatient services structure will also be built as part of the effort to focus on preventive health.

The hospital's campus will also display a pond and waterfall for visitors to enjoy, and the grounds will feature water efficient landscaping.

"It will serve as an icon for health care in the state and country — but more importantly, right here in our community," said Smoot.

Internally, the hospital will focus on coordination between doctors by using new technological systems, in addition to emphasizing the importance of people being healthy before they become ill and how this will prevent emergency care later.

"Historically, physicians have focused on taking care of people who are sick. Well, that needs to change," said Dr. Linda Leckman, CEO of Intermountain Medical Group. "Physicians need to take a role in leadership in that change."

The new campus will include a gym and several other services that will help patients and families learn how to live a healthier life as part of the challenge to create a healthier community.

The completion of the hospital replacement project is scheduled for the fall of 2018.

Email: chansen@deseretnews.com