Final beam placed into hospital portion of $1.3B UCI Health medical campus in Irvine
Autographing the last structural beam of an acute care hospital — the central feature of a 1.2-million-square-foot medical campus being constructed in Irvine — UCI Health officials, employees and builders Thursday celebrated a milestone years in the making.
The last of three major buildings planned for the $1.3-billion complex, the seven-story, 144-bed hospital at 2800 Campus Drive, is due to be completed by late 2025.
Prior to that, the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and Ambulatory Care building is scheduled for completion in 2024, while the Joe C. Wen & Family UCI Health Center for Advanced Care is due to be finished by next spring.
“This is one of my favorite moments on a big project, where we get to stop for a moment and celebrate together,” UCI Health chief executive Chad Lefteris said in an interview following Thursday’s event.
“It’s rare that we get to get all the expert trades, contractors and craftspersons together,” he continued. “You look around and you really get to see them all and see the scale of it — it’s awesome.”
Lefteris explained that the new complex, which broke ground in 2021, was designed to complement the institution’s UCI Medical Center in the city of Orange by providing additional services to more people in and around Orange County.
“We’re full every single day at our flagship campus in Orange. So, this is additive, because we know that we need it,” he added. “This is about making our world-class experts more easily available to the folks who live in Irvine and southward.”
Once completed, the 350,000-square-foot hospital will feature a full suite of inpatient services, including a 24-hour emergency department with 20 treatment rooms and 10 operating suites.
The comprehensive cancer center will essentially triple the current space for UCI Health cancer care, integrating research, prevention, advanced diagnostics, treatments and rehabilitation programs. Its ground floor will contain an outpatient surgical center not limited to cancer patients, according to Lefteris.
A hemotopoetic stem cell and bone marrow transplant program currently being housed at the medical center in Orange will be relocated to the 225,000-square-foot cancer center.
Once completed, a five-story advanced care facility will offer adult and pediatric specialty care and house the Center for Children’s Health and the Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders.
Lefteris said UCI Health officials have already begun the process of recruiting some of the more than 2,000 people who will be needed to work at the new complex and will even host a booth at the Orange County Fair now through Aug. 13 to solicit interest from potential food service workers, facility engineers, nurses, support team members and more.
“We’re trying to meet people where they are,” he said.
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