Gov. joins new hospital dedication

By Celia Bever

Governor Pat Quinn and other state and local legislators spoke at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC)’s new adult hospital yesterday morning, commending the anticipated positive economic impact of the facility.

“It is one of the most up-to-date hospitals of the South Side,” said Kenneth Polonsky, executive vice president for medical affairs, dean of the biological sciences division at the University, and dean of the Pritzker School of Medicine.

According to Polansky, the project was completed on time and on budget.

The Center for Care and Discovery, which occupies 1.2 million square feet and cost $700 million to complete, is “the single largest facility the University of Chicago has ever built,” according to President Robert Zimmer, who spoke at the dedication.

Three hundred permanent jobs were created as a result of the project and $558 million were doled out in contracts, wages, and benefits during construction, $430 million of which was spent in Illinois, according to numbers provided by the UCMC. Nearly half of the contracts were awarded to women-owned and minority-owned businesses.

Fifth Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston said in an interview after the dedication that the University is “better than the city of Chicago” in terms of awarding contracts to women-owned and minority-owned businesses.

Illinois state representative Barbara Flynn-Currie (A.B. ’68, M.B. ’73) spoke about the impact of the new hospital on the University’s relationship with the neighboring residents.

“Occasionally there have been tensions between the University and the community, but those tensions seem to be a thing of the past,” she said.

“The [construction] of this building makes absolutely, glaringly clear that this University is committed to the health care needs of the people who live on the South Side,” she said in an interview after the event.

Asked in the interview for a response to Flynn-Currie’s statement, Hairston said, “[The University] is always a work in progress working with the community.”