Memphis Evolution: Methodist’s campus makeover
The Memphis Evolution is well underway with developments of all kinds all over town. In our upcoming June/July issue of Inside Memphis Business, we get caught up with several of these projects, from the brand new to revivals to impressive makeovers. And we get caught up on some that are well underway. In this week’s Tip SheetAisling Maki takes a look at the $280 million campus improvement at Methodist University Hospital:
One of the largest transformations in Memphis Medical District (MMD) history is expected to be completed this time next year when Methodist University Hospital completes its $280 million campus makeover.
In October of 2016, Methodist broke ground on a new tower at Eastmoreland and Bellevue in the MMD. The 440,000-square-foot addition, built by Turner Construction, will upgrade services by consolidating oncology, transplant, and outpatient programs into a centralized area. This will increase efficiency for medical staff while improving the healthcare experience for patients, family, and visitors.
Outpatient care will also be consolidated in the new tower, with services easily accessible from the updated parking plaza, which opened in January of 2017 with 700 parking spaces. Valet parking will continue to be provided.

Roland Cruickshank

The plan combines the West Cancer Center location on Union Avenue with hospital-based inpatient and surgical services, creating one comprehensive cancer center. ”The overall strategic plan is to ultimately get all those services into one space,” says Roland Cruickshank, president at Methodist University Hospital. “There may still be some limited services on Union, but the focus is to really bring more physicians and providers onto the campus to create more of a destination medical center where we can keep people from going elsewhere for oncology care.”

Methodist is renowned for its Transplant Institute here, where the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs underwent a liver transplant in 2009. Transplant services will be combined into a two-floor inpatient/outpatient comprehensive transplant institute. The expanded facilities and improved technology will be a foundation for building a world-class research program and progressive, healing environment for patients and families.
“Our goal is to be a strategic transplant destination within a 250-mile radius,” Cruickshank said. “Methodist has historically been recognized for best practices in terms of transplants, but I really feel that the investment in this facility and the physicians we’re recruiting to add to the exceptional staff we have today will further allow us to care for more people. It’s not just about brick and mortar; it’s how we can care for more patients in this community and the surrounding areas by expanding our capacity.”
Several years ago, a partnership was created between the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) and Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare system. Methodist, as the major academic campus and primary teaching hospital of UTHSC, aims to be one of the nation’s top academic hospitals. Toward that end, a large anonymous gift was made in 2015 to boost research centered on improving outcomes for transplant patients.
“That donation focuses on making sure we can attract more physicians and leaders and see this as a place where world-class practitioners can bring their expertise,” Cruickshank says. “The donors wanted to make sure we can care for as many transplant patients as possible, irrespective of their ability to pay.”
Methodist sees the campus plan as elevating patient care and providing a more comfortable healing environment for patients and their families. The state-of-the-art patient tower will feature larger, more comfortable private rooms, and departments will be strategically located and combined to make access to services more convenient for patients and families.
“We’ll have features that will be more consumer-centric and feel less like a hospital and more like a place where you can go to get well, versus going to get sick care,” Cruickshank says. “The experience is designed to be much more contemporary, with amenities and accommodations for friends and family.”
Nikki Polis, chief nurse executive at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, says the master campus plan provides the opportunity to focus on enhancing patient- and family-centered care. “We added critical care beds and operating rooms to meet the growing need of our patients,” she says. “Patient rooms are patient- and family-friendly — twice the size of our current rooms, with dedicated space for families. We have simplified the points of entry and made it easier to find your way around. The plan also includes new technology to improve communication between patients and the healthcare team.”
The hospital’s Crews Wing, which provided oncology services, will be demolished to allow space for two gardens that will provide a greenspace and a healing environment for patients and families.
What others are saying
– High Ground News reports on this week’s debut of Explore Bike Share, a triple-verb initiative that aims to bring two-wheelers to the forefront. Read the story here.
The New York Times has a story of local import: “The Trouble With the Memphis Airport: No Crowds.” The secondary headline says: “The spacious terminal built for when the Tennessee city was a bustling air travel hub has become a half-deserted white elephant that the airport is spending millions to shrink.” Alan Blinder of the Times’ Atlanta bureau wrote the bleak piece, which you can read here.
The story did not sit well with Scott A. Brockman, the president and chief executive officer of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority. In a letter to the Authority’s board and staff, he says it “was a gross misrepresentation of our airport and of our interview.” He says the hour-long conversation discussed MEM’s challenges but also on how it’s overcoming those challenges. Those included, he says, MEM’s pursuit of frequent and affordable air service; enplanements exceeding those from the Hub era, passing 2 million last year; airfares falling by more than $180 on average since 2012; recruitment of new airlines and replacing routes; how changes brought about by modernization will better serve passengers and airlines alike.
– Michelle Corbet writes in the Memphis Business Journal that Carlisle Corp.’s One Beale project is seeking more time to close financing on what is now planned to be a seven-story hotel, a six-story apartment building, and redevelopment of the old Ellis Machine Shops property. Read her story here.
Let’s look under the hood
The Greater Memphis Auto Dealers Association (GMADA) and Moore Tech will hold a groundbreaking on Tuesday for their new joint venture: an automotive technician school. The Moore Tech Automotive Technician School will be operated by Moore Tech in a facility owned by GMADA.
It will be a state of the art educational facility and students will be taught the skills needed to secure full-time automotive technician careers. Auto service shops have had an increasing need for well trained auto technicians, which demand more than the mechanics of yesteryear — they need to be savvy in the new technologies the auto industry is incorporating into vehicles. Students will graduate with a two-year Associates Degree and the opportunity to earn ASE Student Certification in eight ASE categories.
“The graduates of this program will directly provide Greater Memphis Automotive Dealerships with the qualified technician candidates that are very much in demand,” says Kent Ritchey, president of GMADA.
The groundbreaking is 10 a.m. May 29 at 2785 South Mendenhall Road.
Opera fellowships aim to make change
Opera Memphis has launched its anticipated McCleave Fellowships, a first-of-its-kind program designed to identify and nurture emerging artists of color in opera. Memphis-based stage director Dennis Whitehead Darling will be the first to receive one of the fellowships, which will ultimately be open to singers, directors, coaches, and conductors of color.
The fellowships are the next phase of The McCleave Project, a collection of initiatives named for Florence Cole Talbert McCleave, the noted African-American soprano who spent three decades singing and teaching in Memphis. It’s an effort to substantially change the complexion of people making decisions about opera by addressing issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion.
The first phase of The McCleave Project attracted nationwide attention and support, including from OPERA America and the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. This new phase seeks to address the underrepresentation of people of
color, both onstage and in key artistic positions. They will provide emerging professionals of color with the tools to be successful artists.
Whitehead Darling is an award-winning stage director and music director who has credits with Playhouse on the Square, Circuit Playhouse, Hattiloo Theater, Harrell Theater, and is Music Director at Cooper Young’s First Congregational Church. He’s done two productions with Opera Memphis: 2017’s Blue Viola and 2018’s Movin’ Up in the World.
Innovators of the Year
Inside Memphis Business magazine has been recognizing the top thinkers and doers in the city for several years. Our sixth annual IMB Innovation Awards issue is coming in October and we want your nominations for these people and organizations that are at the forefront of evolution — tinkerers, questioners, visionaries — who keep the machine of commerce oiled.
Nominations have started to come in and we want you to send us your best and brightest candidates. Please include any pertinent biographical or business information, and why the person, business, or organization should be recognized as a leader among innovators.
Email your nomination to [email protected]com. Deadline for nominations is July 15, 2018.

Myra Hamilton

Power Player

Inside Memphis Business magazine publishes a list of local Power Players every year. These are the movers and shakers in more than 30 categories who get things done in their respective fields. IMB’s current issue has the complete list. We also publish individual categories in other issues throughout the year, and we feature individual Power Players in our weekly Tip Sheet.
Today’s Power Player: Myra Hamilton
General counsel, Hamilton Entertainment Employment Law, LLC. Practice areas include employment and labor, HR and corporate compliance, and business contracts. Represents clients before the U.S. EEOC, Tennessee Human Rights Commission, and various U.S. District Courts. Member, Memphis and American Bar Associations. Included on the Attorney Referral List with U.S. EEOC in several jurisdictions. Member, ABA Forum, Center for Racial and Ethnic Diversity, and ABA Presidential Advisory Council on Diversity. Inducted into Top 100, The National Black Lawyers. 2017 Women of Excellence and Top 3 Finalist: Best in Black Awards, New Tri-State Defender.