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Vital Signs


Vital Signs

Spring 2011

UCLA’s Santa Monica Hospital Undergoes Makeover


This fall, UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica will officially debut its new campus to the community as the multiphase construction project initially launched to repair severe structural damage caused by the 1994 Northridge Earthquake reaches completion. The hospital, which has expanded from two buildings on a single city block to a campus spanning several city blocks, represents the best of an academic medical center combined with a community hospital, says the hospital’s chief administrative officer, Posie Carpenter.

“We will provide all of the benefits of a worldclass academic medical center in a setting that provides the comfort and convenience of a community hospital,” Carpenter notes. The hospital was built in phases while remaining open to the community. The Tower building, which sustained the most damage from the earthquake, was retrofitted, recommissioned and licensed by the state to operate while construction of the campus continued. “This has been a very complex building project,” Carpenter says.

The main hospital facility includes a series of four new buildings, in addition to the existing Merle Norman Pavilion, organized in a horseshoe layout, with the main entrance on 16th Street. The number of licensed inpatient beds will be reduced from 315 to 266, but most of the beds in the new hospital will be in private rooms, which makes the available capacity similar between the old and new facilities. The extended campus will stretch from 12th Street to 18th Street on Wilshire Boulevard, then south to Arizona Avenue.

According to Carpenter, expanding space and services over an extended period of time comes with challenges. “An academic medical center takes considerably more space, and often uses different processes, than a community hospital,” she says. When it is completed, the renovated complex will have the increased resources to provide patients with the best possible care, Carpenter concludes.

What’s in Store

Key features of the new campus include:

  • Orthopaedic Hospital facility on 15th Street and Wilshire Boulevard, featuring an outpatient clinic, the UCLA Department of Orthopaedics’ administrative and faculty offices, other administrative offices, a library and a museum
  • 16,000-square-foot Nethercutt Emergency Center on 15th Street (opened in 2007), with an onsite, 64-slice CT Scanner
  • Comprehensive maternity services, including a Labor & Delivery Unit, a 16-bassinet Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Santa Monica’s only general pediatrics and Pediatric Intensive Care units
  • A new 22-bed Critical Care Unit
  • Integrated interventional and surgical services occupying the entire third floor of the new facility, including 16 operating rooms, additional interventional radiology and cardiac-catheterization labs, as well as a pre- and post-anesthesia care unit
  • A three-story outpatient surgery and oncology building on 16th Street, with eight operating rooms for outpatient surgery, two radiation-oncology units for cancer treatment, laboratories and medical offices
  • New cafeteria containing both indoor and outdoor seating areas
  • Operations center to support UCLA Health, located on Michigan Avenue and Cloverfield Boulevard


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