With the snips of several ceremonial scissors, a host of local, state, and federal dignitaries on Sunday, helped the University of Kentucky officially dedicate the new 12-story Patient Care Pavilion at UK Hospital. Alan Lytle has the story. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says UK's new facility marks a significant milestone in healthcare for the Commonwealth.
"This new Pavilion A of the Albert B. Chandler Hospital is the future of patient care in this twenty-first century. It is a jewel for our state, and the pre-eminent facility for medical care in this entire region."
UK Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Michael Karpf says the facility has been designed to provide hope and healing for Kentuckians for the next 100 years.
"What you have here (is) a very empathetic building that absolutely I hope will bring a smile to your face. As people have come through here over the last several days through the tours, have said: gee, this feels good. This feels OK. This feels like it's supportive. And you know what, I see Kentucky everyplace. And that makes me proud."
Sixth District U-S Representative Ben Chandler of Kentucky says he believes his grandfather would be proud of the new pavilion. In his remarks, Chandler recalled the major political battle the former governor waged to get the hospital built in Lexington half a century ago.
"He fought and he won what was at the time an uphill fight; to establish a medical school and a hospital on this campus. He had to fight, oddly enough, most of the medical establishment in the state. Most of the doctors here in the Commonwealth as you can imagine, had graduated from the University of Louisville, and they didn't want the competition."
Karpf, who has overseen every aspect of the 532-million dollar project, particularly singled out two former fixtures at Lexington's City Hall for helping fast-track the hospital's plans.
"Now people ask me what was the hardest part of this project? Or, what was the most difficult thing to accomplish? It was closing Rose Street. If we hadn't gotten that done this project couldn't have happened. So I thank City Council and I particularly thank Mike Scanlon and Dick DeCamp. Mike had a short political career as Vice Mayor but it was very important to this project, and very important to me; it couldn't have happened without him."
UK President Lee Todd, who is retiring at the end of June, said the Patient Care Pavilion is a significant achievement in improving the lives of Kentuckians.
"A hospital that will simultaneously lead the region in advanced medical practice while staying true to Kentucky. We have built an empathetic and caring facility so that those facing life's most vulnerable and personal moments will feel a sense of calm, a sense of comfort when they walk through our doors."
In addition to two patient care floors with 128 intensive care and acute care beds, the 1.2 million square foot complex features a 305 seat auditorium, a surgical waiting room, chapel, and several public areas decorated with Kentucky-themed art, sculpture, and landscaping. Patients will be moved in later this week.