UC Board Approves $235 Million to Rebuild UCI Hospital
Several different committees of the University of California Board of Regents voted yesterday to give the UC-Irvine Medical Center $235 million to destroy its main hospital and build a new, seismically safe facility, appropriating more than one-third of the statewide bond proceeds for refitting UC teaching hospitals, the Orange County Register reports. The project would commence in 2005 and end by 2008 -- the deadline under state law for all acute care facilities in California to prove they are earthquake-safe. Experts said the new project would be cheaper than attempting to refit the existing, 38-year-old hospital, noting "foundation deficiencies, inadequate anchorage and bracing and other problems" (Fisher, Orange County Register, 11/16). Although plans are currently in the early stages, the new hospital is expected to cost $373 million, with additional funding coming from federal and private sources. The full Board of Regents is expected to okay the proposal today, and then it will move on to the California Department of Finance, where approval is expected early next year (Gottlieb, Los Angeles Times, 11/16).