A rendering of the new Piedmont Heart Institute tower.

The Marcus Tower at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital is opening on April 13, almost four months early, in an effort to serve the community and make more intensive care unit (ICU) beds available during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If necessary, three ICU and acute nursing units, spread over the tower’s sixth, seventh and eighth floors, will be made available, adding a total of 132 additional beds, with 64 designated as ICU beds. These units will house both COVID-19 positive patients and non-COVID-19 patients. Originally, the tower, which was made possible through an initial donation of $75 million from Bernie and Billi Marcus via The Marcus Foundation, was set to open Aug. 1.

“By opening this part of the tower early, we are increasing capacity at a critical time when our community needs it the most,” said Patrick Battey, M.D., CEO of Piedmont Atlanta Hospital. “Getting these beds ready for patients who may need them during the COVID-19 outbreak was the right thing to do, and I am proud of the staff at Piedmont and our partners on the project who made it happen.”

Piedmont’s project management team, working in concert with its partners Brasfield & Gorrie, CBRE and HKS have accelerated the completion of these floors and manufacturers have shipped equipment ahead of schedule to achieve this goal. Crews have worked extended schedules, including over weekends, to get these areas ready for patients. Piedmont Atlanta staff members have worked hard in preparation for the opening as well, creating plans, participating in tours and drills, testing equipment and training to work in the new space.

When the rest of the tower opens in August, it will house the Piedmont Heart Institute, the new Marcus Heart and Vascular Center, the Samsky Invasive Cardiovascular Services Center, and the Shaheen Auditorium. The 16-story tower will feature technologically-advanced operating rooms, cardiac labs, critical and acute care facilities, and up to 408 beds.

The opening date comes just one day after Piedmont announced a $1 million gift from Jeff Seaman, the founder, president and CEO of the furniture store chain Rooms to Go, that is backing its “COVID-19 Infrastructure Fund” to open the tower early.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have generous donors like Jeff Seaman at this critical time,” said Sid Kirschner, Piedmont’s chief philanthropy officer, in the press release. “We are working very hard to take care of our patients in the new reality of a world left vulnerable by the COVID-19 pandemic. Gifts like Jeff’s to our COVID-19 Infrastructure Fund will literally save lives.”