Regents clear way for UCSF to break ground on Mission Bay Hospitals

By Kate Vidinsky on September 16, 2010

UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann and UCSF Medical Center CEO Mark Laret stand in a mock-up of a labor and delivery patient room that will built at the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay.

UPDATE: Following today’s Regents’ approval of funding plans for the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay, UCSF Medical Center CEO Mark Laret announced that the project has received two additional pledges of $25 million each. These anonymous gifts bring the total raised to $375 million – nearly two-thirds of the fundraising goal of $600 million.


The University of California Board of Regents today unanimously approved funding plans for the new UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay. The Board’s action is the final endorsement for the project, clearing the way for UCSF to break ground on a world-class hospital complex for children, women and cancer patients in the Mission Bay neighborhood south of downtown San Francisco.

“The Regents’ approval is a major milestone for UCSF and for our family of supporters throughout the community,” said UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH. “It is hard to overstate the importance of the new Medical Center at Mission Bay, which will reinforce UCSF and the entire Bay Area as a hub of innovation, biotechnology and premier health care.”

After nearly a decade of planning, site preparations are underway on the 14.5-acre parcel of land. Construction of the 878,000-gross-square-foot hospital complex will begin on schedule in December 2010, shortly after required state permits are expected to be issued. Upon completion in 2014, the 289-bed facility will set a new standard for patient- and family-centered health care, safety, sustainability and translational medicine.

“Ten years ago the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay was a dream, but we are now ready to break ground and bring this vision to reality,” said Mark Laret, CEO of UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. “The greatest legacy of the Regents’ decision to approve this new medical center will be the thousands of patient lives that are saved or improved because of the cutting-edge medical care that will be provided in these facilities.”

Video: UC Regents Clear Way for UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay

The Board of Regents considered the final funding plans for the hospital project during their bimonthly business meeting held this week at the UCSF Mission Bay campus. Desmond-Hellmann and Laret presented the plans to a joint session of the Committees on Grounds and Buildings and Finance, followed by a full board vote on September 16.

The Regents approved the total project cost at $1.52 billion, down $166 million from prior estimates because of a variety of cost-saving measures. The project will be funded through a combination of debt financing, philanthropic gifts and hospital reserves. According to Cindy Lima, executive director of the Mission Bay Hospitals Project, expenses were reduced considerably through the use of sophisticated computer modeling that enabled designers to build the hospital “virtually” and resolve costly issues and improve productivity prior to the beginning of construction.

Philanthropic giving to the hospitals project has been robust, with nearly $325 million currently raised toward the $600 million fundraising campaign, including two pledges of $100 million or more. In March 2009, The Atlantic Philanthropies and its founder Charles F. Feeney made a $125 million matching gift, followed by a $100 million private donation from Lynne and Marc Benioff in June 2010 to the newly renamed UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.

“We are fortunate to have a remarkable group of supporters who, in tough economic times, have chosen to invest in this project in such a profound way. Because of their support, we will be able to further UCSF’s mission of advancing health worldwide,” Laret said.

The hospital complex will include a 183-bed children’s hospital with urgent/emergency care, primary care and specialty outpatient services; a women’s hospital offering cancer care, specialty surgery and a 36-bed birth center; and a 70-bed adult hospital for cancer patients. The combination of children’s, women’s and cancer services will facilitate a continuity of care for patients, with mothers of at-risk infants delivering immediately adjacent to the neonatal intensive care unit, and adult and pediatric oncologists working side-by-side. An on-site helipad will improve access to lifesaving care for critically ill patients.

In addition, the close proximity of the hospital complex to UCSF’s 42.5-acre biomedical research campus will speed the application of laboratory discoveries to the treatment of patients in the Bay Area and beyond.

A model of innovative design, the hospital complex incorporates the most advanced approaches to patient comfort, healing and safety. The entire project also has been sustainably designed and will be certified LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Among other elements, its energy and water conservation measures, green spaces, and use of non-toxic materials will be among the most extensive of any urban U.S. hospital.

The new Medical Center at Mission Bay will serve as a third major site for UCSF patient care. UCSF Medical Center at Parnassus Heights will transition into focusing on high-end adult surgical and medical services, including emergency medicine. UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion will become a major outpatient hub, offering advanced diagnostic and therapeutic services.

About UCSF Medical Center
UCSF Medical Center is recognized throughout the world as a leading academic medical center that provides innovative treatments, uses advanced technology, fosters collaboration among clinicians and scientists, and employs a highly compassionate team of doctors, nurses and staff. For more information, visit http://www.ucsfhealth.org/.

About UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital
UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital creates an environment where children and their families find compassionate care at the forefront of scientific discovery, with more than 150 experts in 50 medical specialties serving patients throughout Northern California and beyond. The hospital admits about 5,000 children each year, including 2,000 babies born in the hospital. For more information, visit http://www.ucsfbenioffchildrenshospital.org/.

About UCSF
UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. For further information, please visit http://www.ucsf.edu/.