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Fig. 2 Architectural rendering of the new orthopaedic headquarters building.

AAOS Now

Published 5/1/2013
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Karen L. Hackett, FACHE, CAE

Looking Forward to a New Home for Orthopaedics

In September 2012, AAOS Now reported that the AAOS Board of Directors had approved plans to move forward with construction of a new orthopaedic headquarters building in Rosemont, Ill. As Joshua J. Jacobs, MD, wrote, “The new building will include an expanded Orthopaedic Learning Center (OLC), the latest in cutting-edge technology and energy-efficient systems, and headquarters space for more than 20 orthopaedic organizations.”

Since then, considerable activity and a great deal of progress has been made, and I want to provide you with a brief update on what has occurred and where your Academy is in the process.

A development agreement with the owners of a piece of land approximately two blocks south of the current building has been negotiated and signed. The pie-shaped site is approximately five acres and will be shared with the current owner, a hotel developer who will operate a hotel that will also be built on the site.

The new building will be conveniently located within 10 minutes of O’Hare International Airport and within walking distance of several other hotels and restaurants at all price levels. As you can see in the planned site layout (Fig. 1), the AAOS headquarters building will be on the east side of the site, with a 155-bed hotel situated on the west end of the property. A six-story parking deck will be developed and shared with the hotel.

As you can imagine, constructing and preparing for the future operation of three separate buildings on a 5-acre site fronting two major thoroughfares requires a great deal of coordination and planning.

Financing and design
The current site has been vacant for many years and, as a result, the Village of Rosemont has offered to help finance the development through the use of Tax Increment Financing. To secure this financial assistance, a “redevelopment” agreement must be negotiated with the Village. This document outlines specific steps and deadlines that must be met before public funds can be used and should be signed shortly.

After this step has been completed, the next steps are to secure financing, engage a contractor, and begin actual construction.

Wright Heerema Architects has already begun designing the headquarters building, which will comprise five stories and a lower level, encompassing about 180,000 square feet. The outside of the building will be about 60 percent precast concrete and 40 percent reflective glass (Fig. 2). Inside, large expanses of column-free space will facilitate collaboration and provide needed flexibility to accommodate future growth—things that the current building cannot provide.

The OLC
The expanded Orthopaedic Learning Center (OLC) will be located on the first floor (
Fig. 3). It will have state-of-the-art technology for both onsite skills learning and distance learning.

The new OLC will have a 24-station skills lab, which can be divided into two 12-station labs to accommodate multiple courses at the same time. The OLC auditorium will be able to seat up to 180 participants, but the space will also be divisible into three separate rooms, each with state-of-the-art technology.

The remaining four floors will house the AAOS, our equity partners, and multiple other orthopaedic organizations. Future articles will include more information about this space.

Looking forward
Much remains to be done. The intention is to break ground by early to mid-summer and to move into the new building in early 2015. I would like to take this time to publicly thank our equity partners in the new building—the American Association of Hip & Knee Surgeons, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, the Arthroscopy Association of North America, and the OLC. On both the volunteer and staff levels, they have been great partners.

I would also like to thank the many orthopaedic organizations that have chosen to move with us (see “Supporting Unity” below). This has truly been a labor of orthopaedic unity.

Look for additional updates on the new building each month in AAOS Now that will keep you fully informed of the progress being made. If at any time you have questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Karen L. Hackett, FACHE, CAE, is the AAOS chief executive officer. She can be reached at hackett@aaos.org

Supporting Unity
The new headquarters building will also serve as a symbol of orthopaedic unity and home to more than 20 orthopaedic organizations, including the following:

  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons
  • American Joint Replacement Registry
  • American Orthopaedic Association
  • American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society
  • American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
  • American Shoulder & Elbow Surgeons
  • American Society of Shoulder and Elbow Therapists
  • Arthroscopy Association of North America
  • Association of Children’s Prosthetic-Orthotic Clinics
  • Center for Orthopaedic Trauma Advancement
  • Cervical Spine Research Society
  • Federation of Spine Associations
  • Hip Society
  • International Society of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology - US Chapter
  • J. Robert Gladden Orthopaedic Society
  • Knee Society
  • Musculoskeletal Tumor Society
  • National Board for Certification of Orthopaedic Physician’s Assistants
  • Operation Walk USA
  • Orthopaedic Learning Center
  • Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation
  • Orthopaedic Research Society
  • Orthopaedic Trauma Association
  • Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America
  • Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society
  • United States Bone and Joint Initiative