daytime long view of exterior of 7-story midrise children's hospital with tan and red paneling, stone accents, and patient room windows

Working Together to Expand Women & Infant Care

Banner Desert Medical Center - Women's Tower Expansion | Mesa, Arizona

Banner Health’s primary goal was to increase bed capacity on campus and accommodate relocated and additional women and infant services. The project included a five-story, 150,000-sq.-ft. vertical expansion above Banner Children’s existing two-story north wing at Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa, Arizona.

A reimagined grand entrance accommodates expecting/new mothers and pediatric care, creating a more welcoming experience and efficient patient flow. Overall, the expanded capacity—166 new beds total—and newly focused strategy on women and infant care further positions Banner Desert Medical Center as a hospital of choice.



Adding and renovating roughly 180,000 sq. ft. total, the expansion includes OB triage, 14 labor and delivery rooms, three C-section operating rooms, 36 ante-partum/post-partum rooms, and 108 med/surg patient rooms, the “Big Outside” play area, and Child Life Services space relocation. On the adjacent pediatric side of the hospital, the team also performed 19,000 sq. ft. of tenant improvements to a third-floor shell space, adding 24 new med/surg beds.

Building a vertical expansion directly above active healthcare operations comes with inherent challenges. On top of these, the team had to address new building codes, navigate a global pandemic, and maintain an aggressive schedule. By adopting a “virtual big room” approach, using prefabrication for various scopes, and keeping a conscientious focus on safety, the project team achieved completion under budget and on schedule.

150 units

The project used 150 prefabricated factory-built bathroom units.

55 Days Saved

Prefabricated restroom pods saved 55 working days over a conventional built-in-place delivery.

Zero Lost-Time Incidents

The project achieved zero lost-time incidents over 636,922 working hours.

Turning Over More Beds


DPR’s plan of attack for sequencing was specifically tailored around the owner's need to have additional beds on campus as soon as possible. The team worked together to convert shelled space in the existing pediatric tower so that an additional 24 medical surgery beds would be available. The 19,000-sq.-ft. space was turned over almost two years early.



Market- and Site-driven Schedule Constraints

DPR was tasked with meeting aggressive schedule deadlines despite pandemic-related factors. These included hospital operations navigating a full census from COVID-19 patients, the project team having to move to a “virtual big room,” and labor shortages and supply chain delays amid a city-wide construction boom. Also, the project was working around active and highly sensitive hospital operations, within a congested site.

New Fire Codes for Existing Columns

Building above an active pediatric surgery department and PACU is challenging in and of itself. Changes in code requirements made this even more complex; the expansion started more than a decade after original construction. When the team received late notice that 135 steel columns within the existing building required upgrading from a 2-hour to a 3-hour fire rating, several team members had to step up.

Relocation of Child Life Services Spaces

Remodel work included a relocation of Sophie’s Place (music therapy space) and the Forever Young Zone (stage/presentation area) from the third to the first floor. Both serve Child Life Services, assisting physical therapy through body movement and supporting cognitive health. From a community perspective, these spaces allow kids to feel like they’re out of the hospital for a while, to play with peers and “just be a kid.”



Prefabrication of Critical-Path Items

Prefabrication was critical to helping the project realize faster speed to market, create predictable timelines, and minimize impacts to existing hospital operations. This included 150 prefabricated factory-built bathroom units as well as building skin, corridors, medical gas headwalls (pictured here), and shared MEP racks. The team’s decision to prefabricate made the difference in achieving the project’s schedule—with the use of prefabricated restroom pods alone saving 55 working days over a conventional built-in-place delivery.

Extensive Coordination with Hospital Stakeholders

The added task of upgrading each column required painstaking investigation and coordination with several hospital departments, as columns fell within operating rooms, conference rooms, and other high-traffic or sensitive areas. Finishing this scope, including patching and matching all finishes, took nearly the entire length of the project. Creative sequencing and rigorous quality control across trades made this possible.

Highly Skilled Self-Perform Work

DPR’s self-perform group and interiors partner ISEC went to great lengths to relocate these spaces, including recreating the corridor’s multi-angle, concave entryway and transferring several items. These included the headphone and whiteboard display, standoff glass displays, seven guitar display cabinets, overhead lights, metal curtain, sliding wood door, and drumstick ceiling grid.

A Women's Tower

Built by Women

Several design options were reviewed with Banner Health leaders before construction, including location of triage, patient and visitor access, and potential use of the third-floor shell for programming. The original master plan called for the women's triage space to be at a dedicated entry on the ground floor. However, in working through the design, the team concluded that it was better to move triage to the third floor, so expecting mothers would be adjacent to the labor and delivery department. A major factor supporting the project’s goals was the shared personal experiences of the team. All of the project leadership team are mothers themselves. 



Healthcare Facilities Symposium

Team Award

This award celebrates a project team that has worked together to change the face of healthcare design through innovation, creativity, efficiency and teamwork.

Cohesive Leadership Drives Results

Led by Brittany Burbes (DPR), Tracy Lauer (Cuningham), and Nancy Medrano (Banner Health), the team met project goals and aggressive schedule deadlines despite market- and pandemic-related challenges.

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