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  December 1, 2003

Medical Arts And Research Building Gets Underway

Clearing of a four-acre site on the lower portion of the Farmington campus of the UConn Health Center began recently, in preparation for construction of a new 99,000 square foot, four-story building for clinical, educational, and research programs.

The new Medical Arts & Research Building will be home to the Health Center's Musculoskeletal Institute, its bone biology research program, and its outpatient diagnostic imaging and rehabilitation services. It will provide space for some Health Center activities currently housed in off-campus facilities. And one floor of the new building will house an ambulatory surgery center with four same-day surgery operating rooms; offices and support space; exam and treatment rooms; and medical records.

The surgery center is being built through a partnership between the UConn Health Center Finance Corp. and Health Resources International of West Hartford.

"The new building will be the centerpiece of the Health Center's new Musculoskeletal Institute, which will expand our research in bone biology, biomaterials, biomechanics, arthritis, and orthopedics," says Dr. Peter Deckers, executive director for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.

Musculoskeletal and bone biology is one of the Health Center's signature programs, which link clinical programs with areas of research and educational strength.

"This new building is an important addition to our clinical programs," says Dr. Steven Strongwater, director of clinical operations. "The new ambulatory surgery center will help us accommodate the growing demand for surgery services in the Farmington Valley."

The hospital's existing operating room facilities, which are used for both inpatient and outpatient surgery, have reached maximum capacity. Inpatient surgeries at John Dempsey Hospital grew 24 percent between 1998 and 2001, ambulatory surgery grew 33 percent during that period.

"We anticipate a continuing increase in the need for ambulatory surgery because of demographics and the changing nature of medicine," Strongwater says. "The new building will make it possible for us to renovate our existing operating rooms and accommodate new technologies, without reducing our current level of service to the community."

The building will also consolidate ambulatory rehabilitation and radiology services in one location, improving accessibility for patients.

Construction is scheduled for completion by December 2004.