UM hires architect for $320 million medical building
By Charlotte Libov
With an architect now on board, the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine is moving forward with its $320 million medical-practice building, which consolidates two hospitals and is part of the largest expansion in the medical school's history, according to Ronald Bogue, assistant vice president of UM facilities and support services.
George Valcarcel, an architect in the Miami office of Perkins + Will, will lead the project locally, according to Dave Johnson, a principal with the international architectural firm's Atlanta office.
"We're very excited about this project. We're in the initial planning stages," Mr. Johnson said. The firm, best-known for its health-care and school facilities, designed the diagnostic treatment center at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Mariner's Hospital in the Upper Keys and senior high schools in South Miami-Dade and Broward County.
The medical-practice building, slated for completion in 2009, is one of three new UM medical building projects along with a new parking garage and air-conditioning plant going up in the Civic Center area. But these projects pale in scope to the Miami Bioscience Center, which UM officials hope will propel South Florida into the ranks of the nation's elite medical research communities.
According to Mr. Bogue, negotiations among UM, state and Miami city officials are continuing on the site, adjacent to the medical campus, where the 1.4-million-square-foot bioscience research center is to rise.
"We are negotiating with the city and the state. Probably we will have that wrapped up in 60 days," he said. "If everything goes well, it will be another huge project."
In the meantime, UM medical school building officials have plenty to keep them busy.
First, there's the medical-practice building, which includes a 144-bed hospital. It will consolidate the university's Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, 1550 NW 10th Ave., with the Anne Bates Leach Eye Hospital, currently at 900 NW 17th St. The facility is a replacement hospital, Mr. Bogue said, meaning that no new beds will be added.
Preliminary plans, he said, call for three or four stories to house outpatient facilities and medical offices. Above that are to be two towers containing operating rooms, intensive care facilities and patient rooms.
Some offices in the current cancer center will be relocated to the new building and others will be moved, Mr. Bogue said. The center now houses the American Cancer Society Winn-Dixie Hope Lodge, the Ronald McDonald House and a magnetic resonance imaging center.
"We were dispersed all over the campus and all around the neighborhood," Mr. Bogue said. "Now we will have comprehensive coverage of all of these different specialties. We like to say it will be one-stop health care."
Second is the new $90 million clinical research institute, which, according to Mr. Bogue, is about 80% complete and is expected to be finished in May.
"We were delayed by the hurricane by a few days," he said. He noted, though, that the building was designed according to the most recent building codes, and sustained no damage from the storm.
"We were very fortunate," he said. The only minor delays were due to brief shortages of workers and materials. "That project is moving along almost on time and on schedule. We are anxious to increase our square footage for our support staff and research community."
That facility is to have a 15-story building and an 11-story, 1,424-space parking garage with a wellness center on the two top floors.
The third project is UM's $70 million wet lab and research building, at the northwest corner of Northwest Tenth Avenue and 15th Street, which has received approval from the city and is on target for its summer 2007 completion date.
"The building's footers are being put in even as we speak," Mr. Bogue said. The 180,000-square-foot, nine-floor building, he said, will be outfitted with long sinks, gas and "everything else that researchers need."
But that's not all. In addition, the medical school plans a $25 million, 1,500-car garage and a new $23 million air conditioning plant. Both, he said, should be completed within about 18 months.
"This is the biggest expansion that this school has seen in its history," Mr. Bogue said. "Hopefully, we've done our homework, we have a good master plan, and it's coming together."