Ambulatory care center could be built on golf course

By Lana Groves, Asst. News Editor

In light of an expanding university health care system and aging medical buildings on campus, the U is proposing the construction of a new medical facility on the golf course.

The Ambulatory Care Center, which has not been officially approved, would likely house faculty offices from the U School of Medicine, a new women’s resource services center and updated out-patient clinics, said Steve Panish, assistant vice president for health sciences.

“We need a much better building in terms of access,” Panish said. “It’s going to be a modern full-services building. The current design doesn’t support modern health care practices, in terms of techniques and equipment.”

Parts of the U Hospital and the connected medical school building are outdated, which include small in-patient rooms that make it difficult for family visits. Some of the medical buildings are also laid out with x-ray rooms and diagnostic services farther away from patients than necessary, Panish said.

Bryan Romney, a building constructor at the U, said the new facility is also necessary because older medical buildings, such as the School of Medicine, that were built before 1950 are unsafe in case a level-three earthquake or higher occurs along the Wasatch Front. According to a seismic study from 2000, the older facility needs to be rebuilt or remodeled to bring it up to present seismic building standards.

The new facility is part of the U’s five-year master plan and is designated to sit atop the northeast side of the U’s nine-hole golf course, which was closed in November 2008 to begin the construction of new buildings and intramural track and soccer fields.

Marilynn Paine, assistant vice president of strategic initiatives for health sciences, said the new building would unite medical and surgical specialty physicians and ancillary services, which will include radiology and possibly physical therapy clinics, into one facility.

Health Science administrators are discussing ways to fund the building, but Panish said no funding will come from the Utah Legislature.

Although the building is in a preliminary planning stage, the U is also working with Primary Children’s Hospital, a part of Intermountain Health Care, to build a new facility in relation to the ambulatory center. Panish said administrators are discussing funding for the new center, but that they can’t finalize plans for the size and total of the building until the proposal for another Primary Children’s building is further along.

“It’s been discussed in meetings between the office of the senior vice president and the vice president for facilities, but we don’t know much more than that,” Panish said.

Besides the ambulatory care facility, the U plans to construct a new science and technology research building on the lower half of the golf course.

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Correction: In the article, “Ambulatory care center could be built on course,” published April 2, the article spelled Marilyn Paine’s name incorrectly. It is spelled Marilynn.
The building will house faculty offices, not research offices when built.
Paine is accredited with saying the School of Medicine was built before 1950 and is unsafe in case a level-three earthquake or higher occurs along the Wasatch Front. Bryan Romney, a building constructor at the U, said it in a previous interview.
The building might not include a physical therapy clinic.

Andrew Thompson

Construction crews have begun construction work on the golf course. The U is still working on plans for more building to be built on the course including a new Ambulatory Care Center.