Inside the UVM Medical Center's new $187M building

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) The University of Vermont Medical Center's newest building for patients opens up in just two weeks. Our Cat Viglienzoni gives you a tour and shows you what the changes will mean for your next patient visit.

The Miller Building has been under construction for three years now. And for the first time, we're seeing what the inside looks like.

"It's excitement. It is a little scary," said Dawn LeBaron, the vice president of hospital services.

Anticipation and pride from UVM Medical Center officials as they showed off the newest addition to their campus. The seven-floor, 180,000-square-foot inpatient facility includes 128 single-patient rooms. All the features were designed with input from patient advisors, like Ann Charron.

"When you are ill and you could be getting bad news or the person in the other bed could be getting bad news, just personal conversations that are happening-- no one has to hear those," Charron said.

They told the hospital what many patients wanted: more privacy; more technology to allow them to control the environment in their room, see their medical tests or request specific assistance; and more space.

"I had no place to sit one night because the room was so tight," Charron said.

The new rooms are large enough to have space for the caregivers, the patient and the patient's visitors. Even space for a visitor to sleep overnight and space for doctors, like Frank Ittleman, to work.

"You might have to excuse yourself a half dozen times just to get 10 feet to the patient," Dr. Ittleman said. "And at some point, you just throw your hands up and say there's not enough oxygen in the room for everybody here!"

The hospital believes the $187 million spent on this project will pay off in better care. And they aren't raising rates to foot the bill.

They will also have a lower environmental footprint. The building is designed to use half the energy of a normal hospital. But the rooms are the highlight by far. The goal being if you're going to have to end up in a hospital bed, you should be comfortable and have your own space.

"If you've got to be sick, I'd rather be in this room," Ittleman said. "The finished product was something else. This is cutting edge."

The first day for patients in the new building will be Sat., June 1. And hospital staffers tell us they have been working around the clock to make sure the transition goes smoothly.