Get ready for another major hospital facelift in San Diego, this time at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla.
The plans are the most ambitious yet in our county's ever evolving network of hospitals. Scripps' master plan will take the next 25 years to complete at an estimated cost of $2 billion.
Dozens of doctors, hospital staff members and supporters gathered at Scripps La Jolla on Wednesday to see the artists' renderings of what the campus will eventually look like.
Construction on the first of three hospital towers will begin next June, with construction on that part of the project to be completed in -- hopefully -- 2015.
The current building will eventually be demolished -- but not for another 17 years.
Like many of the other hospital projects in San Diego, this one is being spurred on by state law requiring enhanced earthquake safety standards that most hospitals can't currently meet. At the same time, technology has increased to the point that many hospitals need to expand and improve to stay competitive.
"Whether we like it or not, it's a competitive marketplace, the federal government expects us to compete or we actualy violate antitrust regulations," said Scripps Health CEO Chris Van Gorder. "When the first hospital was built down on Prospect, they had wards. When this hospital was built the way it was, it was state-of-the-art, with semi-private rooms and a few private rooms. The hospitals of the future are all private rooms."
Scripps plan to raise the $2 billion cost estimate through philanthropy, tax-exempt bonds and yearly profits.