Rush University Medical Center: New Tower the Gem of Chicago

Rush University Medical Center unveiled a new $654 million tower in Chicago


“It’s an on-stage, off-stage type of configuration,” he explained. “We have segregated areas where visitors and patients belong and back areas where we have the transport of patients; those areas are segregated from the general public,” he said.

There were many challenges to the specification and final opening of the medical center tower, one of which was the overriding presence of many different entities and regulatory agencies, including the city of Chicago and its own building, fire and occupancy codes; the Emergency Department and its needs; the Illinois Department of Health and Human Services; and the fact that the organization is a teaching hospital. As an academic facility, the proximity access control system is used not only by staff but students as well. Higher security areas in the hospital deployed fingerprint biometrics for access control.

“What’s really challenging and unique is our identification card visitor management system, in that it’s going to be integrated to duress functions. Our identification card is multi-purpose, multi-technology and we rebadged 10,000 people in a two-week period. The badge is visual identification and also contains a bar code for time and attendance and for students visiting the library. We have it integrated into the C-CURE 9000 security and event management system by Software House (a Tyco International Co.) and Human Resources Department databases,” he said.

Advent Systems Inc., based in Elmhurst, Ill., was the original systems integrator on the job at Rush University Medical Center and is handling the tie-in and integration to the new tower location, according to John T. Skwirblies, senior account executive. Advent Systems was the installer of the system at the existing campus and has been upgrading and migrating the older facilities from C-CURE 800 to the 9000 version of the software and is now carrying that work into upgrades and integration in the new medical tower.

“We have been doing the upgrade to the 9000 version in the existing buildings on the campus and are handling programming and providing the integration with 9000 to American Dynamics VideoEdge NVRs,” he said. Skwirblies said Advent spent some 300 programming hours getting the new tower’s system in place for the opening in January, and the systems integration firm continues to provide testing, service and maintenance to Rush University Medical Center.

Skwirblies said working for healthcare end users in older facilities, as Advent has done for many years at the Rush campus and others, can be a challenge. “From an installation point of view, hospitals are definitely more challenging than an office facility. We had to do tenting and had to be particularly careful in intensive care units and patient hallways. Everything had to be run in conduit. It really helps to have a good rapport with security departments, the IT side, facilities management and engineering. These are the folks who know all the wire runs,” he said. (Advent Systems is an independent systems integrator and member of Security-Net, a global provider of security services.)

Advent Systems worked in tandem with the integrator charged with the new tower facility, Siemens Industry Inc., Buffalo Grove, Ill., to make certain solutions were seamless and met the end user’s expectations. Siemens Industry Inc. was brought into the new tower installation through a Request for Proposal by the selected electrical contractor, Gurtz Electric Co., Arlington Heights, Ill.

When Rush University Medical Center’s new tower was initially in the works several years ago and equipment specifications documented, technology was quite different. Over the last few years, with new advances in IP cameras, wireless, and other connectivity, change orders were a necessity, according to Darrin Doan, senior sales executive, Fire Safety and Security, Siemens Industry Inc.

“It’s been a challenge, because technology has changed dramatically since the specification was first written several years ago,” Doan said. “There were a lot of steps to take and weekly meetings with the end user. New products coming out took longer than anticipated. It was a big job and a lot of people were involved, including the owners,” he said.