Rendering of sky view of new surgical tower

UNC Medical Center Surgical Tower

The Surgical Tower construction project has begun at the UNC Medical Center campus. There are major site impacts to the area as a result of the project.

The site map provided by Guest Services

These include:

  • A new traffic pattern in front of the hospital. The NC Memorial Hospital and NC Children's Hospital entrances will no longer be accessible to pedestrians or vehicles. 
  • To help you navigate the new traffic pattern, traffic control personnel will be posted at points along the new route in order to facilitate the flow of traffic and assist pedestrian crossings at designated crosswalks.
  • Valet service for patients and guests is expected to continue throughout the project.
  • The registration office in NC Memorial will be closed. Most registration activity will now take place in the Women's Hospital lobby. Main and pediatric radiology appointments will now register at their check-in areas on the basement level. Please consult your appointment reminder for your "report to" location.
  • Patients and guests parking in the Dogwood Parking Deck are encouraged to enter the hospital using the Cancer Hospital Skybridge, which can be accessed from the 2nd floor of the deck. Golf cart shuttle service to the NC Cancer Hospital entrance are available for those with mobility issues.
  • Guest services personnel will be stationed at curbside drop-off to help patients in and out of their cars and through the hospital lobbies to help you with wayfinding. Look for staff carrying "How may I help you sign?" and they should be able to help you find where you need to go.
  • Have questions about the project? Please send them to
  • An aerial view of the construction zone:Surgical Tower Phase 1 Construction Zone

About the project

Site preparations have begun for the construction of UNC Medical Center Surgical Tower. The building will expand the space for surgery and recovery, will be built directly in front of N.C. Memorial Hospital, and will change the face of UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill.

Surgical practice has come a long way since N.C. Memorial Hospital first opened in 1952, and with this has come new tools that enable our surgeons to provide the highest possible level of care. The increased space that will be provided by the new Surgical Tower will not only provide room for these tools but will provide the updated operating venues with room to grow as our surgeons continue to innovate. The new space will also create more space for pre- and post-operative bays, offer improved rooms for recovering patients, and create more space for families to wait while their loved ones undergo care at our facility.

When completed in 2022, the Surgical Tower will be the largest building on the UNC Medical campus.

New Features

Some of the features of the new tower:

  • 333,555 sq. ft.
  • 7 levels
  • 24 operating rooms (between 650 and 1,000 sq. ft.)
  • 56 Pre-op/ post-op rooms
  • 56 intensive care unit beds (300-320) sq. ft.
  • Family waiting space on each level


How long will the project take to complete?

We hope to have the Surgical Tower completed in 2022.  

What can I expect once the site preparations are underway?

It may take extra time to get to your appointment. Patients that come to the hospital regularly may find that their preferred routes for getting to their appointments may not be available; extra time should be built in to account for traffic and wayfinding. If you are having trouble with wayfinding, please consult our guest services staff.   

The most immediate changes will include:

  • The closure of the Memorial and Children’s Hospital entrances to vehicular traffic and pedestrian traffic. Patient drop-offs should be made at the Women's Hospital entrance.
  • Increased frequency of golf cart shuttles to and from the visitor parking deck
  • More guest services staff to assist with wayfinding and answer other questions you may have about changes affecting UNC Medical Center.

Where can I find the most up-to-date information traffic impacts and other things to know before my appointment?

The website you are currently reading contains not only general information about the project, but also the most up to date information about changes that may impact your visit. Any updates about the project and how it will affect your experience at UNC Medical Center will be posted here.

Will the construction project affect the Chapel Hill Transit stop in front of the hospital?

The Chapel Hill Transit stop will not be moved during the construction. However, the route you travel from the Chapel Hill Transit stop into the hospital may be affected.

How will the construction project affect Manning Drive?

The project is not currently anticipated to affect the flow of traffic on Manning Drive.

Why build the Surgical Tower?

Surgical practice has come a long way since the early 1950s when Memorial Hospital was first built. New procedures and new equipment mean that more space is needed to accommodate the kinds of equipment and personnel required for advanced medical procedures.

Not only will the Surgical Tower provide us with more space for patients, families, visitors and providers, it will also provide room needed to grow and innovate and to remain at the top of the field in surgical practice.

What are some of the features I can expect once the new Surgical Tower is done?

When completed, the Surgical Tower will include more than 335,000 sq. ft. of space and will be the largest single building on the UNC Medical Center campus in Chapel Hill. It will feature operating rooms that range from 650 to 1,000 sq. feet – almost double the size of our current spaces – enhanced pre-op and post-op rooms for patients, and comfortable spaces for their loved ones to wait during their procedure.

I need help finding my way while I am at the hospital? (for patient site)

Our parking and guest services staff are posted outside and inside UNC Medical Center and would be happy to guide you where you need to go.

I have questions that are not addressed on this page. How should I direct them?

Please direct your questions to


Expected timeline of the project:

  • Late November 2018: N.C. Memorial Hospital and N.C. Children's Hospital entrances will be closed to pedestrians and inaccessible to vehicles
  • Late 2019: Site preparation complete, construction begins
  • First quarter of 2022: Expected completion date.

Have questions about the project? Please send them to


Building Renderings

  • Sky view of the new surgical tower renderingAerial View from the Southwest

  • Rendering of the building from Manning DriveRendering of the building from Manning Drive

  • Rendering of surgical tower front entrance Rendering of the canopied entry

  • Rendering of front of surgical tower buildingRendering of the Surgical Tower Entry

Looking for Patient and Visitor Parking?

Patient and Visitor parking information is available here.