The UC Board of Regents approved of a new hospital to be built near the UCI main campus on Jan. 21, 2021. The hospital is expected to be completed around the year 2025 with a 144-acute bed care facility, an ambulatory care center and a cancer center. The total cost of the construction of this building is said to be around $1 billion.
Consequently, land from the now closed-down Arboretum will also be used as a temporary aspect of the medical center’s construction. Senior Director of Communications & Media Relations Tom Vasich and his partner John Murray wrote in an email to the New University that “an area in the western part of the Arboretum will be used for the hospital construction as a temporary staging location” for aspects such as “temporary shade structures and planting areas.”
“The majority of the arboretum and its botanical collections will remain in place,” Vasich said.
According to the UCI Presidential Gateway page, the hospital is the “acting centerpiece” for UCI’s Presidential Gateway project, “a 202-acre development on the corner of Jamboree Road and Campus Drive in Irvine,” which will “revitalize UCI’s north campus.”
UCI’s Presidential Gateway project was initiated in order to “navigate the ever-changing and now unprecedented healthcare landscape,” especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to UCI’s website, “The expansion of [UCI’s] healthcare campus will bring high-quality care and enable residents to unlock the next level of health through groundbreaking knowledge and serenity by way of the surrounding naturescapes.”
According to the LA Times’ Daily Pilot author Lilly Nguyen, the new medical center will provide a Center for Children’s Health and provide wellness programs, urgent and emergency care, research and clinical trials, specialty disciplines and surgical and acute care.
“[The new medical center] will focus on key clinical programs such as oncology, neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedics and digestive health and have a 24-hour emergency department,” Nguyen said.
According to a UCI News article, the new medical center is said to be able to contribute to “the local economy by creating upward of 2,500 healthcare and construction jobs,” with the first patients to be expected as early as 2022.
“[The new medical center] will be a place to nurture health and lifelong wellbeing — truly advancing the three cornerstones of the university’s mission of teaching, research and public service,” Chancellor Howard Gillman said.
Along with the hospital, the UCI Health Center for Advanced Care is being built, and together they will span nearly 800,000 square feet. The UCI Health Center for Advanced Care will house “Center for Children’s Health, adult specialty care, urgent care and other services needed in the region for the entire family” and is expected to be completed in late 2022.
“All stages of project planning and construction on the UCI Presidential Gateway site will meet or exceed the 2019 UC Sustainable Practices Policy goals and ensure stewardship of the natural environment surrounding the complex,” Vasich said.
Kealani Quijano is a Staff Writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.