RalphThe past few years have seen extraordinary additions to the physical make-up of Penn Medicine. The Ruth and Raymond Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, the Roberts Proton Therapy Center, and the Smilow Center for Translational Research all represent the latest thinking in the design and operation of world-class health buildings.

The commitment to excellence that saw these structures advance from concept to construction didn’t end, however, when the last plate of glass was installed and final coat of paint applied. It carries on in the form of several new, system-wide projects that will continue to transform the way we look and how we serve patients.

A dynamic feature of the unified Perelman/Roberts/Smilow complex is its adaptability. Built in stages, the suite of structures holds still more scope for development. So that’s precisely what we’re doing. Construction is underway on the South Pavilion Extension, a five-floor addition that will sit directly over the dock of the Perelman Center. Its 200,000 square feet will comfortably house almost all remaining HUP outpatient services. Freeing up space at HUP will allow us to shift the departments and services now at Penn Tower into the hospital (or other locations) in preparation for razing the Tower and its garage. But while the nearly 40-year old garage may soon be gone, the parking spaces will live on -- and then some. Construction of a 1,000-car garage adjacent to Lot 51 is well underway. The new structure will, when the time is right, also support several floors above it, providing added administrative, research, or education space in the future.

Moving to PPMC, work is in progress on two major initiatives that will greatly affect how care is delivered in both West Philadelphia and our region in general. The new 11-story Penn Center for Specialty Care will help revitalize the 38th Street area while bringing more health care services directly to the community. The facility, which is scheduled for completion in 2014, will add more than 150,000 square feet of outpatient and surgical care space, including the multidisciplinary Penn Musculoskeletal Institute -- as well as offer ample office space for growing technology and science companies. Good Shepherd Penn Partners will also occupy significant space in the building.

Equally transformationally, with the opening of the new Advanced Care Hospital Pavilion in early 2015, the trauma center at Penn Medicine will relocate from HUP to PPMC. The 178,000 square-foot facility will feature extensive renovations and expansion of the existing emergency and radiology departments, including additional emergency bay and operating room capacity and a new state-of-the art trauma resuscitation area. The project will also incorporate a new concourse to enhance patient flow. Additionally, the exterior of the PPMC campus will be developed to feature a landscaped green space in the 38th Street courtyard.

Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first and oldest hospital, is still making history. Penn Medicine at Washington Square, a 12-story, $22 million facility, consolidates PAH’s ambulatory and support functions in a highly modern, eco-friendly space. Medical practices and nearly a dozen hospital departments now in various locations in and near the hospital will come together in one place. As a bonus, the new facility is being built on top of an existing parking garage, providing added convenience for patients and visitors. This structure will allow Pennsylvania Hospital to achieve its goal of an all-private-room, acute-care hospital at its main campus.

Finally, Penn Medicine Valley Forge recently marked the opening of the on-site Abramson Cancer Center.  The new service offers radiation oncology treatments with a new state-of-the-art linear accelerator, chemotherapy infusion delivered in its 12 chemotherapy bays, and cancer-related consultations and follow-up visits delivered by a multidisciplinary physician team.

All of these changes are strong proof that our commitment to excellence remains on a clear and steady path -- regardless of ongoing national economic uncertainties. While building and construction in general have slowed down, we continue to move ahead with visionary projects to meet future needs.

The result of all these efforts will be even more high-quality care options for patients throughout our region. And that’s something we can all be proud of.

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