Hopkins sees a new era for medical park

$1 billion in renovations at East Baltimore campus

A major reconstruction

Technology is stressed in 7- to 10-year blueprint

May 04, 2002|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,SUN STAFF

Johns Hopkins Medicine will launch today one of the largest and most expensive private building campaigns in Maryland history - a $1 billion reconstruction of its 52-acre East Baltimore medical campus.

If Hopkins can raise enough money, the master plan calls for the construction of 2.2 million square feet of space over the next seven to 10 years. It includes research facilities, a children's and maternal building, a cardiovascular and critical care tower, and renovation or demolition of many other structures. Hopkins officials estimate that the plan could create 1,000 jobs.

The announcement comes shortly after plans were unveiled for an $800 million biotechnology park on more than 80 acres just north of the Hopkins campus. That initiative is expected to create as many as 8,000 jobs, but dislocate homeowners and businesses.

Hopkins officials say the campus expansion and the measures to reduce blight in East Baltimore are necessary for the institution to remain technologically competitive and to continue to attract the best medical professionals and students.

In contrast to the biotech park plan, which involves interests outside Hopkins and land yet to be acquired, the medical campus expansion involves only land Hopkins owns or is in the process of acquiring. Homes and businesses would not have to move.

The rebuilding effort is prompted, Hopkins leaders say, by the need to replace outmoded facilities, introduce the latest technology, and create an environment that will attract the most talented doctors, researchers and caregivers. The goal, they say, is to create a physical setting that is as good as the people who work there and is flexible enough to accommodate change.

The plan is a blueprint for "the most significant capital improvement in the history of Johns Hopkins Medicine," going back to its opening in 1889, said Ronald R. Peterson, president of the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System. "We're really trying to take this campus into a new era."

"The practice of medicine is far more complex than it was a century ago, when the original Johns Hopkins Hospital was built," said Edward D. Miller, dean of the medical faculty and chief executive officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine. "We need spaces that more closely integrate treatment, research and teaching, and that are flexible and visionary enough to adapt to clinical, technological and research advances that we cannot yet begin to imagine."

The area targeted for rebuilding is bounded roughly by Madison Street on the north, Washington Street on the east, Fayette Street on the south and Caroline Street on the west.

Under the plan, developed by David McGregor of Cooper, Robertson & Partners in New York, a new main entrance would be created on Orleans Street, between Broadway and Wolfe Street. The current Wolfe Street entrance would become a secondary entrance primarily for staff and students.

One reason for making Orleans Street the new front door of the medical campus, planners say, is that it is a two-way thoroughfare. Wolfe Street is one-way. An Orleans Street entrance would also orient the campus more to Baltimore's rejuvenated waterfront district.

Other features include:

Two new patient buildings: a children's and maternal building on Orleans Street, which would be roughly the same size as the $125 million Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building that opened in 1999, and a cardiovascular and clinical care tower where the 1970s-era Jefferson Street Building, formerly known as the Oncology Center, now stands. Both will be connected to the Weinberg building and the rest of the hospital.

New laboratory buildings. Planners have four possible sites, including two parcels near the Bunting-Blaustein Building on Orleans Street, land near Madison Street, and the site of the Rutland Avenue garage.

Infrastructure including an additional power plant, a 2,500-car garage and loading docks, which would be built on an 8-acre parcel south of Orleans Street that Hopkins is acquiring in a swap with the city for the former Church Home and Hospital. Once the garage is built, Hopkins could tear down the Broadway Garage north of Orleans Street to make room for new patient buildings.

The plan also calls for "selective demolition" of as much as 1.2 million square feet of space in buildings considered obsolete, including the Halsted-Osler Building, the Children's Center, the Pathology Building and the 1970s-era Park Building. Some of that land would be used at least temporarily as green space.

Hopkins has 980 beds, and the number of beds under the new plan would be the same or slightly higher. More beds would be devoted to treating patients with serious health problems as opposed to those who need primary care - in response to an industrywide trend toward outpatient care. Hopkins would continue to offer primary care and outpatient services in East Baltimore and at satellite facilities around the region.

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