Ground has been broken and an ambitious fundraising effort is underway for a $275 million expansion project at the University of Kansas Hospital.
The Cambridge North Tower is an exciting addition going up just northwest of 39th Street and State Line Road. When completed in 2017, it will have 12 operating rooms, 92 beds and house the hospital’s surgical oncology, neurosciences and ear, nose and throat programs.
Construction began in March, and already close to $40 million has been raised. No state funding is going into the project. Greg Graves, chairman and chief executive of Burns & McDonnell, and his wife, Deanna, are leading the effort to raise $100 million for the project. It’s a very big ask, but the couple have proven in the past they are up to it.
Hospital President Bob Page told The Star’s editorial board that $150 million will be covered by bonds and the rest of the cost will come out of the hospital’s operating revenue. Donations have included $10 million from Kansas City philanthropist Annette Bloch, $2.5 million from the Burns & McDonnell Foundation, $1 million from the Graveses and, affirmingly, a pledge of more than $1.5 million from doctors and other employees at the hospital.
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Cambridge North Tower will be eight stories tall when finished and have the capacity to go up to 11 stories. The hospital has 700 beds now and stays mostly full. A quarter of the patients it treats comes from outside this region. Patient volume has increased 128 percent since 1998, much of it in the fast-growing areas that will occupy the tower.
The hospital has been justifiably promoting its high national rankings. And both Kansas Citys will benefit as hundreds of more jobs and new vitality energizes the 39th Street corridor.