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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University June 12, 2006 | Vol. 35 No. 37
Groundbreaking Ushers in Next Era for Johns Hopkins Medicine

Representing various JHM constituencies, guests toss ceremonial ribbons bearing words stating Hopkins' core values.
Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

Confetti rained down on the nearly 250 people gathered in The Johns Hopkins Hospital's Houck Courtyard on June 4 as the centerpiece of the largest and most expensive hospital project in Maryland history was officially unveiled. The same confetti fell just yards away on the future site of the two new clinical buildings that those on hand said will transform Johns Hopkins Medicine, and American medicine, far into the future.

University President William R. Brody, Johns Hopkins Medicine CEO Edward D. Miller, JHH President Ronald Peterson and other top administrators were on hand at the Monday afternoon event to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Cardiovascular and Critical Care Tower and the Children's Tower, two buildings that will form the new face of the hospital. Also on hand at the event were dozens of invited guests, most notably the first lady of Maryland, Kendel Ehrlich, and Michael Busch, speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, both of whom gave remarks and helped toss ceremonial ribbons (representing Hopkins' core values) into the construction site.

Kendel Ehrlich
Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS

The state has already pledged $75 million to the construction of the two towers, estimated to cost $725 million. The trustees of Johns Hopkins Medicine have approved $418 million in financing — making Johns Hopkins the single largest investor in the project — and outside donors to date have pledged $200 million.

The masters of ceremonies for the event were George Dover, the Given Foundation Professor of Pediatrics and director of the Department of Pediatrics at the School of Medicine, and William A. Baumgartner, the Vincent L. Gott Professor of Cardiac Surgery, cardiac surgeon in charge at the hospital and vice dean for clinical affairs at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Dover said that the current capital project is the most ambitious undertaking in the hospital's 117-year history and lays "a new foundation for the future of Johns Hopkins Medicine."

"When Johns Hopkins was established, it created a new model that revolutionized the practice of medicine in this nation," Dover said in his opening remarks. "Johns Hopkins Medicine is transformational medicine, collaborative medicine, bench-to-bedside discovery-driven medicine. The medicine complex that will rise on this spot is designed from the ground up to help us practice that kind of medicine better than ever before. What we do in these facilities in the decades to come will influence how medicine is practiced in this country and around the world, just as we did more than a hundred years ago."

Brody said that the two new clinical buildings will be twin engines of discovery, a hallmark of Johns Hopkins.

William Baumgartner and President Brody
Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS

"Here we will always strive to deliver the very best medical care that can be found anywhere in the world," Brody said. "This is our heritage, this is our purpose, and this is the promise we make today to the citizens of Maryland and our friends and supporters from all around the world."

Hopkins officials sought to underline the "ceremony" aspect of the groundbreaking ceremony as ground had already been broken on the project, currently in the demolition phase.

The new clinical towers are part of the comprehensive 10-year master plan that will transform the medical campus. The estimated $1.2 billion overhaul calls for eventually razing several campus buildings and adding others, such as the education building announced last fall. Construction on that project is expected to get under way in early 2007, with a completion date scheduled for 2008-2009. It will be located on a parcel between the Outpatient Center and the Cooley Center, the current site of three outdoor tennis courts.

Construction will start on the two new clinical buildings later this year, following the demolition of the Jefferson Street Building. The two 12-story buildings, designed by the Perkins + Will architectural firm, will be linked to the rest of the hospital and provide roughly 1.4 million square feet of space. The facilities are slated to open in June 2009.

The two clinical facilities will be built as a single structure but with a two-tower design that conveys their individual identities and functions. The buildings will front the northern side of Orleans Street, adjacent to the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building. Together, the two will frame a new main entrance to the hospital accessible from Orleans Street.

The 560,000-square-foot Children's Tower, the new home of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, will contain a pediatric trauma center, 205 inpatient beds, 10 operating rooms, outpatient care for oncology and psychiatry, and the Pediatric Clinical Research Unit, among other services.s It will house emergency, surgical, interventional, critical and acute care for infants and children and will integrate care of high-risk obstetrics patients and newborns.

In this architect's rendering, the Cardiovascular and Critical Care Tower is at left and the Children's Tower at right. Forming the new face of The Johns Hopkins Hospital, they will rise on the north side of Orleans Street. Completion is planned for 2009.
Photo Courtesy of Perkins + Will

The new facility is designed to maintain Johns Hopkins' current status as the designated pediatric trauma center for the state of Maryland. In addition, the Harriet Lane Children's Community Health Building, a new $20 million, four-story, 90,000-square-foot pediatric outpatient facility situated on the corner of Orleans and Wolfe streets, will provide one-stop outpatient services for pediatric patients. A new pedestrian bridge will connect the existing parking garage to the Children's Tower and provide an indoor connection to the Harriett Lane Building.

"We believe our Children's Tower will be the best children's hospital in America, bar none," Dover said. "And because it will be so closely linked to the adult tower and our research facilities, the Children's Tower will be better — more comprehensive and more innovative — than any freestanding children's hospital is now, or ever could be."

The 913,000-square-foot Cardiovascular and Critical Care Tower will have two floors occupied by the new Johns Hopkins Heart Institute plus 320 beds, 14 endoscopy and bronchoscopy rooms and a full complement of radiology equipment. The facility will be designed to support current and future technologies and techniques for surgical, interventional and emergency procedures, as well as critical and acute patient care.

Patient floors in both clinical buildings will feature large lobbies and waiting rooms and will have small private alcoves where medical staff can meet with families. Decentralized workstations will keep nurses close to their patients, and all patient rooms will be private, with high-resolution digital display screens that bring diagnostic images, lab data and patient records right to the bedside.

"Advanced technology will permeate the buildings," Baumgartner said. "We'll have all-digital medical imaging, so a cardiologist or a neurologist can walk into any operating room, any laboratory, any patient's room, touch a button on a plasma screen and pull up [the patient's] studies, such as MRIs, angiograms, CT scans or lab results."

While the day, six years in the making, marked a significant milestone for the project, Edward Miller said that the most exciting days are yet to come.

"We've got a long way to go: two 12-story towers to build and equip, another $100 million in philanthropy to secure and additional state support to request," Miller said. "But the hardest steps are behind us. And we look forward to the day, not so far in the future, when we can gather again — to celebrate the moment when the work on these towers ends, and the work in these towers begins."


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