by Photo by Sarah Berjan

A revitalization project of UC San Diego’s Hillcrest campus was celebrated through a groundbreaking event on Friday that will encompass approximately 60 acres to expand patient care services, promote wellness and offer community amenities.

Construction of a $3 Billion project is expected to continue in phases over the course of 15 years. The new academic medical facility is set to include new affordable housing and fitness facilities.

“The reimagined Hillcrest campus will increase access to UC San Diego Health’s nationally ranked medical specialties and world-class patient care. The revitalization project will form a modern destination medical center that will further improve the exceptional care and medical education UC San Diego is known to deliver,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla.

A  250,000-square-foot outpatient pavilion will be phase one and is slated to open in 2025. Khosla said this new facility will address the growing demand for specialized diagnostic treatment, surgical services, and specialty clinical programs, including oncology, neurosurgery, urology, otolaryngology and orthopedics, as well as ambulatory surgery operating rooms, gastroenterology procedure rooms, advanced imaging, infusion and radiation oncology. 

Road-related and utility infrastructure will be included within the first phase of construction, which is set to include a new parking structure with 1,850 spaces for employees, patients, and visitors. 

The Price Philanthropies Foundation donated a $10 million gift to further push public fundraising. The foundation’s president, Robert Price said the Hillcrest location was the center of healthcare in San Diego during the 1950s as a county-operated hospital. 

“Over the years, medicine has moved north and the resources have moved north,” Price said. 

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria addressed the “growing concern” of hospitals located south of Interstate 8. 

“This commitment, this project says very clearly that we will continue to have not just care, but world-class care for communities south of Interstate 8,”Gloria said.

The main hospital, which once served as the county hospital, will be replaced in later phases to comply with 2030 seismic safety provisions of the California Hospital Code.To reduce the impact of the surrounding community, upgrades for the UC San Diego Hillcrest campus will be synchronized to ensure current, critical campus functions remain operational.

According to CEO of UC San Diego Health, Patty Maysent, the development of the new campus faced restrictions that were carried over from the late 1960s. It was through state, county, and community partnerships that lifted those restrictions.

State Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins was credited with securing funds from the state budget to make the project happen. Additionally, Maysent credited philanthropic donations to also have contributed to the project’s feasibility. 

“Healthcare should be a right, not a privilege. When we make this commitment, it says a lot about who we are as a people, who we are as a community, and about our values,” Atkins said.  

Gloria agreed with Sen.Atkins, adding that housing is a human right.

“This project envisions the inclusion of thousands of housing units, so those people who are doing heroic work could actually afford to live in, and live in the community they serve. What a novel idea,” Gloria said. 

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