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New-hospital Study Pushed At University

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A request for planning money for continuance of a study aimed at bringing the University's Medical Center up to date, including a possible new $105 million University Hospital; will be sent to the Legislature this week. Dr. Wilbur K. Pierpont, U-M viee president and chief financial officer, said today that "we do have studies under way for a new hospital which were submitted to the Legislature last year and will be submitted again this year following this week's meeting of the regents. "Studies have been under way as to the size, location and cost, but no decisions have been rCached on these items yct," he said. Pierpont said preliminary estimates for building a new University Hospital have been set at $105 million. He said the studies are being carried out to determine what is needed for improving and updating the I Medical Center, and are as yet incomplete. The present University Hospital which was started in 1920, has long been considered outdated by medical experts. Following compleiion of the outside shell of the building 52 years ago, funds for construction ran out and it was boarded up until 1923. Completed in 1925, the first patiënt was admitted in August of that year. The hospital since has been remodeled and expanded. The possibility of expansión of U-M facilities was first brought up today at a county Property Committee meeting by Thomas J. Fegan, county planning director. Fegan, in discussing possible locations for a county medical care facility, stated the Planning Department believed such a facility should be near an acute care hospital. There are three such hospitals in the county, St. Joseph's, Beyer Memorial Hospital in Ypsilanti, and the U-M hospital. Fegan said U-M officials had requested he (Fegan) discuss the possibility of building a medical care facility near U-M in view of the proposed expansión. U-M Director of Plant Extensión John P. Weidenbach commented this morning that "the University has constantly before the Legislature the need to build a new hospital someday. That's exactly the status it has now." He said any reports that the U-M has specific plans for replacing University Hospital would be "quite premature," md would indícate "someoody's got the wrong information." "The Medical Center Planning Committee (headed by Medical School Dean John A. Gronvall) is going through master plan studies. It's a long process. As has been reported, they've recently completed a building conditions study, which amounts to assessing what exists now." Weidenbach noted that the five-year projection of capital outlay proposals the U-M sent to state officials last fall contained ''no specific request for a new building . . . They didn't request a new hospital. i i ,m "We are continuing with renovations of the existing hospital," he added. Two years ago, Dr. Gronvall used the figure "$100 million" in discussing a "10year development program" at the Medical Center. He said at that time that "the future of the existing hospital building" would be "very high on the list of priorities" in Medical Center planning. He said alternatives the long-range planning is expecteci to consider is the possibility of at least partly replacing "monolithic community hospitals" with smaller units. -