On December 17, 2021, a celebratory groundbreaking event marked the beginning of a comprehensive revitalization project of the University of California (UC) San Diego’s Hillcrest campus. Upon completion, it will feature state-of-the-art facilities, expanded patient care services and technologies and other community amenities to promote wellbeing.
Construction for the UC San Diego Long Range Development Plan encompasses approximately 60 acres and the redevelopment of the more than campus, which is over half a century old. Complementing the new academic medical facilities and services will be new housing and fitness facilities.
“The reimagined Hillcrest campus will increase access to UC San Diego Health’s nationally ranked medical specialties and world-class patient care. The revitalization project will form a modern destination medical center that will further improve the exceptional care and medical education UC San Diego is known to deliver,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla.
Redevelopment construction on the $2.5 to $3 billion project is expected to continue over approximately 15 years in five major phases.
“As the region’s only academic medical center, UC San Diego Health brings the most advanced science and patient care to our communities to help people lead healthier, higher quality lives,” said Patty Maysent, CEO, UC San Diego Health.
“UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest is a hospital with tremendous strength and character, and a rich history. The new Hillcrest campus will underscore our status as a premier health care destination for patients, as well as enhance the experiences of our remarkable staff,” she added.
Phase 1 includes a 250,000-square-foot outpatient pavilion anticipated to open in 2025, which will house specialty clinical programs, including oncology, neurosurgery, urology, otolaryngology and orthopedics, as well as ambulatory surgery operating rooms, gastroenterology procedure rooms, advanced imaging, infusion and radiation oncology.
During the groundbreaking ceremony, Price Philanthropies Foundation and the Price family will be recognized for helping inaugurate the fundraising effort for the outpatient pavilion with a $10 million gift.
Robert Price, President of Price Philanthropies, shared his family’s motivation for supporting UC San Diego Health. “UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest has been a leader in our community for more than half a century,” said Price. “This project will significantly increase access to UC San Diego Health’s outstanding outpatient and specialty care services for families and others who live south of Interstate 8. We encourage others to join in supporting UC San Diego Health in this vital initiative.”
The outpatient pavilion will address the growing demand for specialized diagnostic, treatment and surgical services. More specifically, new and significant space for multispecialty cancer clinics and infusion centers will allow UC San Diego Health, and its National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, to greatly increase access to cancer care throughout the region.
“Whether for primary care or specialty care, such as cancer, patients come to UC San Diego Health to receive exceptional medical attention and life-saving treatments,” said Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine, and director of stem cell research at Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health. “The Hillcrest campus project will help ensure San Diegans and their families, friends and neighbors have access to top physicians and the health care they deserve.”
The first phase of construction also includes a new parking structure to provide approximately 1,850 spaces for employees, patients and visitors, plus related road and utility infrastructure.
Later phases of the project will include the replacement of the main hospital, which once served as the county hospital. The project is necessary to comply with 2030 seismic safety provisions of the California Hospital Code.
The Hillcrest campus includes a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Regional Burn Center and a Comprehensive Stroke Center. The Emergency Department manages more than 50,000 patient visits per year. Approximately 5,000 nurses, doctors, technicians, staff and administrators serve the needs of the community at the location.
“I have worked at UC San Diego Health for many years. The Hillcrest hospital and our superb multi-disciplinary staff have been through many severe flu seasons, the AIDS crisis, wildfire disasters and now the COVID-19 pandemic. We show up for each other and our patients every day,” said Ted Chan, MD, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at UC San Diego Health.
“As our region continues to grow, particularly in the central and south county areas, a new Hillcrest facility will allow us to amplify our advanced care to the community for common illnesses and complex conditions, strengthening our position as the beacon of health care,” he continued.
The UC San Diego Hillcrest campus is located three miles north of downtown San Diego and 13 miles south of the university’s La Jolla Campus. Historically, it has been a critical regional resource, providing care for all patients, including those in under-insured or uninsured communities.
“Our vision for the community is to create a healthier world — one life at a time — through new science, new medicine and new cures,” said Maysent. “The UC San Diego Hillcrest campus project will reinforce and support that vision and our commitment and dedication to the San Diego region and beyond.”
With its first hospital at the Hillcrest campus in 1966, UC San Diego Health has been a driver of innovation and breakthroughs in medical science and health care, from the region’s first kidney transplant in 1968 to testing novel antiviral drugs for treating HIV/AIDS in the 1980s to caring for some of the first patients with COVID-19 in the United States in 2020.
Featured rendering courtesy of UC San Diego.