The Saint Johns Health Center’s effort to build a replacement hospital has become a reality with the completion of the Howard Keck Center.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on July 29, 2009 at the center to celebrate the achievement. Those who attended the ceremony heard from many of those who had been intimately involved with the fundraising for the project as well as its’ planning. The Chair of the Saint John’s Health Center Foundation, Allan Goldman, stated that the “foundation raised over $250 million in philanthropic support for this state-of-the-art facility.”
Robert Day, Chairman and CEO of the W.M. Keck Foundation and a Trustee of the Saint John’s Health Center Foundation gave a little bit of history about his family. His grandfather William M. Keck was the founder of Superior Oil and he set up the foundation in 1954. After his death in 1964 his son Howard Keck was its CEO for 30 years. The new center was named after him because of the large donation the foundation made to the center’s capital campaign.
Keynote speaker Rick Caruso, Chief Executive Officer of Caruso Affiliated and a Trustee with the Saint John’s Health Center Foundation commented on the national debate on healthcare by stating the mission of the health center is to help “improve the health of individuals in the communities we serve especially those who are poor and vulnerable.” This mission “should also serve as guidepost for our elected officials as they struggle to reform healthcare.”
The new Howard Keck Center is the second building that will comprise the new replacement hospital. The first, the Chan Soon-Shiong Center for Life Sciences Building, was opened in 2005. Together the two buildings have a total of 236 private beds, with the capability to expand to 268 beds during peak seasons by converting some rooms to semi-private rooms.
The Howard Keck Center will become operational at the end of August and the hospital tower currently housing the old hospital’s South Wing is scheduled to begin demolition in the fall of 2009. Its site will then be configured to hold a park and drop off area.
The new center contains an emergency room, 13 surgical suites, a breast center, an orthopedic unit, a diagnostic center, a multi-faith chapel, an atrium, and other facilities. Also part of the Howard Keck Center building are earthquake-absorbing base isolators in its foundation, technology that allows the hospital to generate 95 percent of its own energy, and a cooling system that allows the hospital to reduce heat by using its water flow.