Ripken leads campaign for Shock Trauma Center

$160 million project also will expand emergency care

  • E. Albert Reece, dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, gives a thumbs up after returning to his seat. He delivered remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony of the University of Maryland Medical Center's new $160 million, nine-floor trauma/critical care tower.
E. Albert Reece, dean of the University of Maryland School of… (Baltimore Sun photo by Kim…)
May 13, 2010|By Baltimore Sun staff

The University of Maryland Medical Center and its R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center today kicked off a fundraising campaign for a $160 million, nine-floor building — with former Baltimore Oriole Cal Ripken Jr. as honorary chairman.

The trauma/critical care building, scheduled to open in 2013 at the northeast corner of Penn and Lombard streets, is one of the largest construction projects to get under way in Baltimore this year. The building will be the first major expansion of Shock Trauma since it opened in 1989 and will result in the creation of 300 construction jobs and hundreds more permanent jobs.

The new facility also will boost the capacity of the medical center's adult and pediatric emergency departments and provide more beds for intensive care patients, the hospital said. It will give the center a second rooftop landing pad for Medevac and Maryland ExpressCare helicopters.

Ripken, the Hall-of-Famer who set a record for consecutive games played, will head the fundraising campaign with former state Sen. Francis X. Kelly, who will serve as chairman. Kelly, a longtime friend of Ripken's, sits on the University of Maryland Medical System's board of directors.

"In Maryland, there are two names that are respected by just about everyone, and that would be Cal Ripken and Shock Trauma," Kelly said. "It's a great fit. I wouldn't ask Cal to be involved with anything that does not jive with his values, and this does."

Since 2001 Ripken's primary philanthropic interest has been the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, a family-run organization that operates baseball programs for youngsters and other initiatives in more than 40 states. According to Ripken spokesman John Maroon, it is "fairly rare" when Ripken gets involved in charitable campaigns outside his family foundation.

"When Frank asked me to help him on this campaign for Shock Trauma, I immediately said yes," Ripken said in a statement. "Frank is a great friend and Shock Trauma is a cornerstone of our community, and they do amazing work. If I can help raise awareness of their needs, I am honored to do so."

When complete, the building will provide 64 new and replacement beds for critical-care patients and 10 operating rooms, five new and five replacements. Seven of the operating rooms will be dedicated to Shock Trauma. The expansion also will provide a separate lobby and waiting area for Shock Trauma, a "healing garden" and a second rooftop helipad.

Administrators say the project is needed because demand for trauma, emergency and critical-care services is expected to increase, and some areas of the medical center already have reached maximum patient capacity. "Our Shock Trauma Center currently serves nearly 8,000 patients annually in a … building originally designed for 3,500 patients," said medical center president and chief executive Jeffrey A. Rivest.

In addition, administrators estimate that the medical center will handle nearly 80,000 emergency department visits a year by 2016, compared with nearly 64,000 visits in 2008.

Kelly said construction of the original Shock Trauma building was financed entirely with state funds, but that level of public funding was not possible for the expansion. He said the new project will be funded by a combination of sources, including medical center operating funds, federal funds, $50 million in state funds allocated over several years, and money from the capital campaign.

"Shock Trauma serves thousands of patients every year with the most renowned trauma and critical care available," Gov. Martin O'Malley said in a statement. "This expansion will not only increase the Shock Trauma Center's capacity to serve the people of the region, but it will also create hundreds of jobs during its construction and after its doors are opened. We're proud to have committed the funding necessary to make this expansion possible, as we continue to deliver results together to move our state forward."

The new building was designed to meet criteria for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, according the medical center. The goal is to have 25 percent of the construction work performed by minority contractors.

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