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UCSF Breaks Ground on State-of-the-Art Mission Bay Medical Center

By Juliana Bunim, UCSF Today | October 27, 2010

After a decade in the works, UCSF broke ground on Tuesday on a state-of-the-art and sustainable medical center at Mission Bay - a 289-bed, 878,000 square-foot complex that promises to transform care for women, children and cancer patients.

More than 200 community members, elected officials, donors and UCSF leaders, faculty and staff and patients celebrated the milestone, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, UC President Mark Yudof, UCSF Medical Center CEO Mark Laret and UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond- Hellmann, MD, MPH.

The bright and sunny occasion matched the upbeat mood of those attending the invitation-only ceremony and luncheon under tents on the site where tractors are ready to roll. The celebration continues today (Oct. 27) for employees and members of the community.

"Today we celebrate champions at UCSF who have made this special day possible," Laret said as he welcomed the crowd.

The groundbreaking is the culmination of nearly a decade of work by UCSF faculty, staff, donors and community advisory groups who together are bringing San Francisco its first completely new hospital in 30 years.

"We are here to celebrate a very major milestone in the history of UCSF, the City of San Francisco, the County of San Francisco and the state of California," Laret continued. "Just imagine that in four years we'll be looking out at a spectacular new Benioff Children's hospital, a women's hospital and a cancer hospital. It will be a place of exceptional advanced technology where the next lifesaving techniques like fetal surgery will be introduced."

Blazing a Trail
Pelosi noted that this $1.5 billion project is made possible in part by funds from the federal economic recovery act, which total about a half billion dollars for biomedical research and construction at the University. "UCSF represents what is best about our city, it is always blazing a trail," said Pelosi. "By breaking ground we are building again on that tradition of innovation and wellness."

The new medical center's location at Mission Bay will bring UCSF's renowned research facilities and its world-class patient care together, shrinking the distance between research scientists, physicians and other health care professionals. "Research, clinical care and biotech are coming together to advance clinical care worldwide," said Desmond-Hellmann. The new medical center is a "model of modern healing incorporating modern standards of energy-efficiency and sustainability."

While the entire project has been sustainably designed and is targeting LEED gold certification, within the walls of the facility, "it's all about patients and care," said Pelosi, pointing to the "star of the day" in Paddy O'Brien, an 11-year-old UCSF patient, diagnosed two years ago with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. "It's about coming to some of the nation's best providers for hope."

In addition to helping with the actual groundbreaking, O'Brien read an original poem titled "Needles."

Desmond-Hellmann also noted the efforts of local community members, including San Francisco Supervisor Sophie Maxwell and State Senator Mark Leno, who helped UCSF get approvals for the rooftop helipad, which as the only helipad in the city, will be used to bring critically ill newborns, children and pregnant women to UCSF from remote hospitals for care.

Read more at Juliana Bunim, UCSF Today