It takes a unified offense to defeat a stubborn foe. That's why
the U-M Health System (UMHS) plans to take on the nation's leading
killer, cardiovascular disease, in a new $168 million Cardiovascular
Center that will unify operating rooms, patient rooms, clinics,
classrooms and laboratories.
Having received approval from the Board of Regents on Sept. 19,
UMHS will begin the architectural planning for the first phase of
a world-class Cardiovascular Center for patient care. Construction
of a 345,000-square-foot clinical facility and 400-space parking
deck will begin in Oct. 2003, and the building will be in use by
A second project for an adjoining cardiovascular research facility
is in the planning stage and will be submitted to the regents at
a future meeting.
The clinical care facility will rise from the heart of the U-M
medical campus. Nestled among major hospital and research buildings,
it will connect via artery-like passages to several levels of the
University Hospital, the Cancer and Geriatrics Center, and C.S.
Mott Children's Hospital.
Plans call for the center and its parking garage to be built on
the former site of the "Old Main" hospital that served patients
until the mid-1980s, along and behind a steep rise known as "Cardiac
"Heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular problems kill
more Americans than any other disease group, and Michigan has the
sixth worst coronary death rate in the U.S.," says Dr. Kim Eagle,
who on July 1 became the Cardiovascular Center's clinical director.
"We must fight back with every weapon we have, and develop new ones
through research. This center will help us fulfill our mission to
attack cardiovascular disease in Michigan and throughout the nation."
The new clinical building will help meet the surging demand for
cardiovascular services. In the past five years, outpatient visits
and inpatient cases have risen by 33 percent. While the new center
is being built, UMHS will continue offering cutting-edge treatment
options for adults and children with heart and vascular problems
at its current facilities.
"This building will represent a major addition to the U-M medical
center, bringing all our expertise together to focus on a single
important group of diseases," says Dr. Lazar Greenfield, interim
executive vice president for medical affairs, who presented the
project proposal to the regents at their meeting.
When completed, the new building will feature eight operating rooms
dedicated to cardiac and vascular surgery; 24 intensive-care patient
beds; 36 outpatient exam rooms; a total of 14 procedure labs where
heart and blood vessel exams, scans and procedures can take place;
and a state-of-the-art, noninvasive diagnostic facility.
The all-in-one design will ensure that patients will receive coordinated
care from their medical and surgical teams, from outpatient visits
and tests to surgery and recovery. Nearby teaching space will help
UMHS train tomorrow's cardiovascular specialists.
By the end of the decade, the planned cardiovascular research building
will house more than 120,000 square feet of research laboratories
for 30 top scientists and their teams. Their research into the molecular,
genetic and cellular underpinnings of heart and vascular disease
and treatment will be conducted in grouped laboratory "neighborhoods"
that will foster integration and communication.
The Cardiovascular Center concept received its initial approval
in fall 2000, giving UMHS the go-ahead to coordinate services, raise
funds and plan the space for the proposed buildings. The Sept. 19
vote will permit architectural design to begin, starting with the
selection of Boston architectural firm Shepley Bulfinch Richardson
In addition to the construction of the center's clinical building,
the initial project will include the removal of a staff parking
lot, the demolition of an outdated office building and the building
of a $16 million parking garage for patients and staff. The total
cost of the project is $196 million. Even as the clinical care building
is designed and built, fund raising will continue for the research
The Cardiovascular Center concept already brings many programs
together under one organizational umbrella, says center administrator
Linda Larin, but the new building will make that cooperation easier
by consolidating their physical location.
The regents also approved a proposal to expand the Pediatric Cardio/Thoracic
Unit in the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital from 12 to 15 beds by
spring 2003. That unit provides intensive specialized care for the
hundreds of children who undergo heart surgery through the Michigan
Congenital Heart Center each year.