Nonprofit Banner Health has approved a $17.5 million project at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center in Glendale that will create a new 40-bed patient care unit for patients requiring advanced heart monitoring. Construction is scheduled to begin this week.

The new unit, called a Progressive Care Unit, will feature all-private rooms for patients who have a history of heart problems and require close monitoring of their heart rhythms during their stay. The unit will also serve as a stepping stone for patients well enough to leave the intensive care unit, but who require a higher level of monitoring than what’s provided in the hospital’s medical-surgical units.

“The new floor will allow us to get patients from the emergency room to a patient room more quickly, even during our busiest times,” said Banner Thunderbird CEO Deb Krmpotic. “It’s going to help make healthcare easier and life better for some of our sickest patients.”

The unit will include a lobby, a conference room and a private consultation room for doctors to meet with families.

Construction, which will begin next month, will convert 36,774 square feet of shelled space on the sixth floor of Thunderbird’s South Tower into the new patient unit. “Shelled space” is space constructed to meet future needs; it is space enclosed by an exterior building shell, but otherwise unfinished inside.

Smithgroup has been selected as the architect on the project and J. E. Dunn Construction has been chosen as the general contractor.

When completed, Banner Thunderbird will have 595 licensed beds, making it the third largest hospital in the Valley. It’s anticipated the new unit will open to patients next summer.