Loma Linda University Health unveils $1.2-billion rebuilding plan

Loma Linda University Health is launching a campaign to raise $1.2 billion to upgrade its Inland Empire medical campus.

The Seventh Day Adventist organization unveiled plans Tuesday to expand its children’s hospital, construct a new adult hospital and build a research center that will enable high-tech collaboration.

“It’s unprecedented and it’s bold,” Rachelle Bussell, senior vice president of advancement for the organization, told a crowd of more than 100 people gathered for the event.

The organization had already raised nearly $150 million in contributions and pledges as of Tuesday. Much of that is coming from what it is calling the largest gift to healthcare in Inland Empire history -- a $100-million pledge from local business leaders Dennis and Carol Troesh.


Dennis Troesh purchased Robertson’s Ready Mix, based in Corona, in the 1970s and grew the business into one of the largest ready-mix and construction aggregate operations in the western United States. In 2013, Mitsubishi Materials Corp., based in Japan, completed a buyout of Robertson’s for an estimated $2.2 billion. Carol Troesh is a children’s book author.

“So many people have made money in the Inland Empire and then left to Newport Beach or to Los Angeles and take their money with them,” Dennis Troesh said. “The money is needed here.”

The couple are longtime residents of Riverside.

“Our money was made in this community,” Carol Troesh said in a video played at the event. “How better to help this community?”

Troesh’s pledge jump-starts a campaign to raise $350 million in philanthropic gifts to support the expansion effort. It’s the largest philanthropic campaign in the history of the Seventh Day Adventist church and six times larger than any campaign Loma Linda has done in the past, Bussell said.

An additional $175 million is expected to come from state bond earmarks.

Founded in 1905, Loma Linda University Health comprises eight professional schools, six hospitals and more than 800 faculty physicians in Southern California’s Inland Empire. More than 45,000 healthcare professionals have graduated from the university, including more than 10,500 physicians.

Dr. Richard Hart, Loma Linda president, told the audience the organization’s plan for the future is “nothing short of historic.”

Spurred in part by state seismic requirements that will make the current adult hospital unusable in 2020, the organization said the effort would also improve accessibility and provide the latest in state-of-the-art equipment for students and faculty.

Groundbreaking on the hospital facilities is expected in 2015.

The date for breaking ground on the new research facility, dubbed the Center for Discovery, have not yet been set.

The facility will also include an academic-based Wholeness Institute, which will look beyond health and wellness to research ways of addressing the needs of the whole person, including spiritual needs, hospital officials said.

The new facilities are “designed from the ground up to match the quality of our care and the passion of our mission,” Hart said.

The plans also call for funding student scholarships, faculty development and opportunities for local youth and students interested in service work.

“It’s that campus transformation not just of buildings but of processes that I think is so critical to what we’re about,” Hart said in a pre-recorded interview.

Twitter: @chadgarland