Surgical Tower

, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC

Surgical Tower entrance
Surgical Tower aerial
Surgical Tower view

In 1952, The University of North Carolina (UNC) Memorial Hospital opened its doors to patients, eventually providing healthcare services to the entire state. With a ribbon-cutting projected for 2024, the new UNC Surgical Tower is an innovative, 375,000-square-foot addition to the campus and a welcome asset for all — physicians, staff, patients, and visitors. This project represents a deep commitment by the state of North Carolina to its citizens and provides best-in-class healthcare services.

UNC Memorial is ready to relocate its existing operating rooms to this new seven-story building, which connects to the existing five-building UNC Medical Center campus. These new operating rooms are expanded to accommodate today’s large teams of specialists and provide room to grow. The tower also offers 80 intensive care beds, waiting spaces, clinical offices, pre- and post-op patient rooms, a sterile processing area, hybrid operating rooms for imaging and surgical procedures, and a satellite pharmacy to serve the wider community and attract top provider talent.

Providing flexibility for future technological advances and preparedness for tomorrow’s unknown challenges were part of the vision for the tower. Many spaces serving families and guests can flex and change into larger patient treatment areas as needed. Safety for all the building’s users was also top of mind, serving as the design driver for the pedestrian bridge that links the Surgical Tower to the existing parking decks, elevating users above the busy, highly trafficked area.

The design team collaborated with the hospital, School of Medicine, and university planners and architects to realize the stakeholders’ shared goal of a crown-jewel building that sits beautifully within the larger master plan, prominently positioned on the UNC campus in front of the existing Memorial Hospital.

Building Facts

  • 335,000 GSF
  • 23 Operating Rooms
  • 1 Hybrid Operating Room
  • 56 Pre/Post-op Patient Care Areas
  • 56 ICU Beds
  • Satellite Pharmacy
  • Sterile Processing Area
  • Clinical Offices


UNC Health Care recently broke ground on its Surgical Tower - part of its ongoing effort to best serve the people of North Carolina with modernized surgical spaces and more room for patients and their loved ones.