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When SSM Health acquired St. Louis University Hospital in 2015, CEO Bill Thompson promised to build a replacement.

On Wednesday, SSM released images of the new SLU Hospital — a sleek, modern structure with an all-glass exterior set to open in 2020.

The new 600,000-square-foot, 10-floor hospital will have 316 private patient rooms. In addition, SSM plans a four-story, 200,000-square-foot outpatient facility, a large parking garage and expanded emergency department with its own parking lot.

Total cost for the new medical center is $550 million.

Staff and physicians helped weigh in on the design of the new hospital and outpatient facility, and agreed on some guiding principles, Kate Becker, CEO of SLU Hospital said.

One important element was to ensure the teaching hospital is conducive to health care education. To achieve that, the new hospital hallways have alcoves big enough to fit 16 people, so doctors and residents can huddle in those areas, instead of stopping in the middle of the hallway and disrupting foot traffic.

Even though the hospital is in an urban area, Becker said, it was important to incorporate green space to project a soothing and healing environment. It’s something the current hospital campus lacks.

That green space also helps achieve the desire for an academic feel. The green space will be situated between the hospital and outpatient facility, similar to the feel of an outdoor commons area, a frequent design element at many university campuses, Becker said.

Natural light will be evident within the new building, something hospitals routinely lack.

The end of a hospital hallway also will be a window, which is traditionally a wall with no view to the outside in most hospitals, Becker said.

The new hospital will be situated off Grand Boulevard between Rutger and LaSalle streets, immediately adjacent to the current facility.

Another important change is diverting traffic to the emergency department, which will be situated at the west end of the hospital.

Ambulance, helicopters, patients and visitors will enter off Spring Avenue, a separate entrance from the other areas of the campus.

Right now, most of the hospital traffic, even for emergencies, ambulances included, travels west on Vista Avenue. This change should ease some of that traffic congestion, Becker said.

The original SLU Hospital was built in 1933 but was updated in 1988 with a major expansion.

The Desloge Tower is featured in some of the renderings. But a final decision has yet to be made on whether it will actually stay.

St. Louis-based Lawrence Group and Milwaukee, Wis.-based Hammel, Green and Abrahamson will design the new hospital and outpatient center. Groundbreaking is expected later this year.

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Samantha Liss • 314-340-8017

@samanthann on Twitter