Community Celebrates UCSF Mission Bay Medical Center Groundbreaking

San Francisco first lady Jennifer Siebel Newsom and daughter Montana share a moment with Sam Hawgood, dean of the UCSF School of Medicine, at a community celebration as part of groundbreaking festivities for UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay.

UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital hosted a community celebration Wednesday as part of the groundbreaking festivities celebrating the 289-bed hospital complex set to open in 2014.

The event drew crowds from the surrounding communities, including Mission Bay, Potrero Hill, Dogpatch and Bayview who sampled locally sourced cuisine, decorated pumpkins, enjoyed complimentary chair massages, toured farmer’s markets and listened to an array of music, from classical to Indian jazz.

San Francisco first lady Jennifer Siebel Newsom stopped by with daughter Montana to decorate pumpkins and plant in the garden boxes manned by the local community group Pennsylvania Gardens.

“I’m just thrilled for women, children and cancer patients to have a place to come and receive care under one roof at Mission Bay,” said Siebel Newsom. “It’s a gift to San Francisco.”

Teddy Reibel enjoyed playing with pumpkins at the community celebration of the groundbreaking for UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay on Oct. 27.

Cindy Lima, executive director for the project, said a strong emphasis was put on incorporating the community from the birth of the project.

“The entire UCSF Mission Bay development is for the community so it’s natural that the community has been involved in every aspect of development and design,” said Lima.

During the design process, more than 50 meetings were held with neighbors, including community advisory groups, to hear feedback that was incorporated into planning. One example of that active response, Lima said, was that UCSF moved the helipad closer to the research campus and away from the neighborhood in reaction to community concerns.

Once construction ramps up, the project will continue to support the community by bringing in hundreds of jobs to San Francisco. Construction jobs will peak at 1,100 jobs in 2013, according to Lima, and once the facilities are completed they will provide ongoing jobs for San Francisco residents. UCSF already is the second largest employer in San Francisco and the fifth largest employer in the nine-county Bay Area, according to a 2010 economic impact report.

On Wednesday neighbors strolled through the booths, sampling the local cuisine and playing games including the milk can toss. “I live in Dogpatch which is often a forgotten part of the city,” said Mason Baumgartner while tossing a ring. “It’s refreshing that a development comes into this part of town and takes into consideration its impact on the area and its residents, and not just its own isolated focus.” 

But not all of the guests were local. Farmer Johan Smit of Hidden Star Orchards drove from his farm in the Sierra Nevada foothills with a bevy of fresh fruits and vegetables to hand out to guests. As a believer in food as medicine, he believes events like the community celebration help “show how large companies and hospitals can work with small business, communities and CSA’s [community supported agriculture] to bridge the gap.”

Photos by Susan Merrell

Related Links:

UCSF Breaks Ground on State-of-the-Art Mission Bay Medical Center,
UCSF Today, October 27, 2010

Community Invited to Celebrate Groundbreaking of UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay,
UCSF Today, October 25, 2010

UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay Project on Target for 2014,
UCSF Today, December 16, 2009