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UC San Diego plans new hospital in Hillcrest

UC San Diego would like to have a new hospital in place by 2030.
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UC San Diego is looking to make improvements to their medical campus in Hillcrest and that includes a new hospital according to the San Diego Union Tribune.

They would like to replace the 11-story Medical Center that currently stands at the border of Hillcrest and Mission Valley.

Planning meetings for the project were held this month and a team is currently coming up with plans for the 56-acre property which now holds 37 buildings including the medical center itself.

Of course the organization would like to continue to provide care for Hillcrest, and the community would need to be addressed before any redevelopment begins due to the possibility of noise and traffic.

Under a state deadline that requires older hospitals to update their earthquake-proofing by 2030, the re-development would give the campus a new start.

Robert Clossin, UC San Diego’s director of physical and community planning said, “The studies are telling us that it reaches a point where you just can’t modify it anymore. It really just reaches its end and, at that point, it’s rebuild time.”

Additionally, the hospital must remain open during construction so planners need to find a spot on which to build the new facility, but ground space is limited because much of the parcel is sloped.  

The committee is also considering to add extra floors to existing buildings which currently stand two-to-three stories tall. These buildings might become faculty dorms or office spaces.

“There is such a high demand for housing and medical office space that those uses would be part of a revenue-generation possibility for the campus,” Clossin added.

A member of  Uptown Planners association weighed in on their concerns, saying housing makes sense but not at the expense of increased congestion.

“The big issue that has to be addressed is traffic and providing alternative modes of transportation,” said Leo Wilson, chair of Uptown Planners, adding that he speaks only for himself.

In 2005, The community was concerned that the hospital which serves Hillcrest and the local urban community would drastically downsize, sending people to the newly built and operational Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla.

Those concerns are still present today, even though the University has said it is dedicated to the community.

If that happened, lower-income patients would need to travel quite a way in order to get medical attention.

Clossin would like to ease concern, saying the current hospital will carry on business-as-usual.

“We’re maintaining all of the core functionality of that facility. The trauma center, the emergency department, the burn unit, the HIV/AIDS clinic, all of those elements are going to be retained,” he said.

One thing that seems certain is that the redevelopment will include taller buildings, but where exactly they will stand remains to be seen.

A draft of the plan is expected to be ready for review by late this year or early 2018

Once the plans are finalized it will be determined which of the existing buildings will remain and which will be razed.

They are hoping that a new hospital will be ready for operation by 2030, with some work estimated to begin in 2025.