UC Health celebrates grand opening of state-of-the-art emergency department

UC Health
The waiting area for the new surgical building that opened a few months before the emergency department in summer 2023.

June 29, 2023

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We have been proud partners with UC Health since their Strategic Facilities Plan in 2019. This emergency department expansion and renovation as well as a new surgical building that opened earlier this year are key parts of that plan and the system's Clifton Campus Revitalization Project. Blue Cottage of CannonDesign has provided strategy and operations planning and Messer Construction has served as construction manager of the project.

Uc Health Two
An ambulance symbolically cut the grand opening ribbon for the UC Health emergency department.

An additional 41,000-sf was added on to the existing 35,000-sf emergency department to increase capacity and improve patient flow. The ED and Level 1 Trauma Center will be able to provide surge capacity for larger scale crisis situations and be better able to triage patients. Three new floors were also added above the ED to house an observation unit, a flexible ICU and 28-bed inpatient acute care unit. It can further vertically expand to accommodate inpatient care growth.

Providing a better front door to campus for patients and first responders was also a goal, with reconfigured vehicle access to the ED for ambulances and private drop offs. The new buildings blend modernity into the historical context of the campus, which has steadily grown over the years as UC Health’s reputation as a world-class academic medical campus has blossomed.

Adjacent to the emergency department is a healing garden inspired by “the notion of the Seven Hills of Cincinnati,” meant as an intimate escape from the hectic activity of the ED. Amongst the plant life is a series of sculptural lights that act as fireflies to bring warmth to the space even after dark. The garden, designed by REALM Collaborative, has windows on three sides and provides daylight and views into patient care space, staff corridors, and the behavioral health treatment pod.

Blue Cottage of CannonDesign provided extensive simulation modeling as well as scenario-based mock-up testing was used to determine best equipment, room space, noise and visual controls, safety needs and appropriate technology for various room types. The programming, planning and patient flow was also informed by analyzing present and future patient volumes and testing new workflows, processes and models of care to keep UC Health on the cutting edge of emergency medicine care.


  • We are honored to be partners with UC Health as they invest in their flagship campus where the design allows for delivery of a higher level of excellence. Adding to the fabric of their historic campus in the heart of Cincinnati ensures UC Health can continue to provide the best care and a beacon of hope to people in the community.

    Natalie Petzoldt Design Principal, CannonDesign

The UC Health and UC College of Medicine emergency medicine program is recognized nationally for being a top research and training program. As the first Emergency Medicine residency training program in the United States, the department trains the top medical students and hosts renowned faculty.

To further enhance training, responsiveness and efficiency for students and staff alike, a flex space will be incorporated into the design so the ED can easily expand to accommodate anything from a community event to a mass casualty situation to another pandemic or infectious disease scenario. This portion will start construction in August with completion slated for next year.

Uc Health One
The exterior of UC Health's new emergency department, which founded the first emergency medicine residency program in 1970.