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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Campus Development: Medical school builds big

By Jonathan Ng

To accommodate an increasing focus on the sciences at the U, the new campus master plan calls for the health sciences campus to be expanded.

The health sciences area will grow to meet infrastructure needs that will accompany expansions in both clinical and academic research.

Because the campus is located at a highly constrained site, the topography is also a large concern, having the natural boundary of the Wasatch Mountains to the north and east and student housing to the south.

A large part of the expansion plan is to make more room to accommodate changing needs regarding inpatient care.

“The purpose is to expand capacity for our patients and families,” said Dan Lundergan, executive director of the U Hospital. “Our goal is to convert semi-private rooms to private rooms.”

There are 70 semi-private rooms in the hospital now. David Entwistle, CEO of the U’s Hospitals and Clinics, said the new rooms will be a bit larger, and the hospital will end up with about 30 more beds.

The hospital lobby will be expanded to accommodate inpatients and make more room for their families.

“When this building was built in the ’80s, care was much different,” Entwistle said. “Families are much more involved (now).”

The hospital expansion is expected to be completed in December 2009.

As part of the expansion, the hospital will receive a new cafeteria that is “desperately needed,” Entwistle said.

The Huntsman Cancer Hospital will also face restructuring.

“The Huntsman Hospital is going to expand by 50 beds to accommodate the growth and, unfortunately, the demand for cancer patients,” Lundergan said.

Construction should begin in the next one to two years, with a projected completion date sometime within two to three years.

Accommodations for other clinical areas such as the rehabilitation unit will also be met. A new ambulatory building will be constructed. The facility will complement the already established community clinics. Although the exact building location is not determined, Research Park is being considered.

“We are weighing options right now,” Lundergan said. “We are working closely with the main campus planning.”

The School of Medicine will also be restructured for academic needs.

“We know for a fact that the School of Medicine building has to be replaced at some time in the future,” Lundergan said.

There are no immediate plans for the building. Lundergan said he wants to see the campus master plan before doing any further planning. The plan should be completed within the next few months.

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