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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Kids hospital revealed

    Dr. Fayez Ghishan, head of the UA Department of Pediatrics, gestures during a speech outside University Medical Center. A $15 million gift recently donated will help the creation of the Diamond Childrens Medical Center.
    Dr. Fayez Ghishan, head of the UA Department of Pediatrics, gestures during a speech outside University Medical Center. A $15 million gift recently donated will help the creation of the Diamond Children’s Medical Center.

    A $15 million donation from philanthropist Donald R. Diamond will jumpstart the creation of a new children’s hospital.

    The announcement was the centerpiece of the presentation yesterday morning that revealed plans for the Diamond Children’s Medical Center before a crowd of about 100 people atop the parking garage of University Medical Center.

    “”It has been a lot of work, a lot of effort – a lot of decisions had to get made,”” said Gregory A. Pivirotto, president and CEO of UMC.

    The children’s hospital will reside on the top three floors of the Diamond Center, a $200 million, six-story building connected to UMC, 1501 N. Campbell Ave. It is slated to open in 2010.

    “”It will be a center of excellence at the university,”” said Dr. Fayez Ghishan, head of the UA Department of Pediatrics.

    He said he has been a strong proponent of building a children’s hospital since he came to the UA from Vanderbilt University 13 years ago.

    The Diamond Center has been in the planning stages for close to 10 years, with “”people talking about all the different ways of doing it,”” said Kent Rollins, president of the UMC Foundation.

    The hospital will have many advanced features, including a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and wards for oncology and blood and marrow transplants. The space will also include a meditation room, healing garden and family room.

    The hospital will be open to any child.

    Once the hospital is complete, UMC will attract top talent in all areas of pediatrics and double its faculty to 120 employees, Ghishan said.

    Construction for the hospital is expected to cost $55 million, with the balance provided by community fundraising, said Darci Slaten, public affairs coordinator for the Arizona Health Sciences Center.

    The money for the building’s outer walls will come from revenue bonds, she said.

    Many hospital administrators consider children’s hospitals a bad investment, but the successful ones work because of community support, Pivirotto said.

    “”It is going to take the entire community to make this children’s hospital successful,”” he said.

    Ghishan said the center is a big deal for science, as it will combine “”state-of-the-art clinical care, state-of-the-art research and training for the next generation of pediatricians.””

    “”Unique in Arizona, this children’s hospital will bring the latest medical discoveries, literally, from the bench to the bedside to benefit our young patients,”” said UA President Robert Shelton, as he addressed the crowd.

    Shelton added that the center “”will serve as a major asset for the Tucson community,”” also bringing economic benefits by attracting people and corporations to the city.

    When complete, the hospital will be competitive with the best children’s hospitals in the country, Ghishan said.

    “”We will make life better for the kids,”” he said.

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