The University Board of Regents approved the most expensive building in University history with plans for a new $498 million children’s and women’s hospital to replace the current C.S. Mott Children’s and Women’s Hospital.

Approved at the regents’ last meeting, the replacement facility is being built in response to an increased demand on the hospital system, and a greater need for space to allow patient privacy and state-of-the-art facilities.

University President Mary Sue Coleman opened the April regents’ meeting by addressing the increasingly outdated facilities at Mott, which opened in 1969.

“The Mott facilities are 35 years old and virtually the whole world of pediatric medicine has changed during that time,” Coleman said. “The Mott team has coped with insufficient and outdated spaces as patient demand has skyrocketed.”

Coleman expressed the University’s desire to continue to improve the quality of care that Mott has provided for families throughout Michigan and the country.

“It is time for the quality of facilities to again match the quality of medical care,” she said.

University Health System spokeswoman Krista Hopson said Mott’s age prohibited it from keeping up with medical advances.

“Things have just grown tremendously,” Hopson said. “We’re operating in a facility that was designed long before we had innovations such as pediatric magnetic resonance imaging, before we had the treatments that we have for things such as leukemia.”

Hopson also said that the number of patients in Mott had nearly quadrupled in the last 35 years.

Funding for the hospital is expected to come from private donations, multiple fundraising efforts and hospital reserves. UHS has already raised roughly $35 million for the new building, with $25 million coming through a grant from the C.S. Mott Foundation, based in Flint, and $4 million through a grant from the Carls Foundation. The “M GO BLUE for Mott” wristbands have also raised $500,000 in sales to go toward the project. Even professional and Michigan hockey players played each other twice to raise $60,000 for the new hospital.

Regent David Brandon (R-Ann Arbor) has led the fundraising campaign along with his wife Jan Brandon, head football coach Lloyd Carr and his wife Laurie. Brandon said he felt compelled to help raise support for a new facility because of the work they had done for his family 25 years ago, when his twin sons were born prematurely with blood complications and were treated at Mott.

“As far as I’m concerned, the people of Mott saved the lives of my sons,” Brandon said. “Obviously I have a real strong personal connection with Mott and I believe strongly in having a world-class pediatric hospital in our community.”

The new hospital is hoped to open in 2011, though a start-date for construction and the schematic designs have yet to be decided, Hopson said.

The one-million square feet will be divided with about 775,000 square feet set aside for inpatient space, 225,000 square feet for clinic and office space and 90,000 square feet of shell space allocated for future growth and expansion. The final bed count of the hospital has not been determined yet, but is expected to be larger than the 240 available in Mott currently.

Construction for the replacement hospital is planned to take place on the Terrace Site, a parking lot near the Taubman Health Center

The current Mott facility will remain open and function as normal throughout the construction, and once the new facility is completed the Health System will use the old building for faculty offices, clinic facilities and family space.

HKS Architects has been approved to design the new hospital.

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