Construction on a long-awaited $207 million outpatient clinic and surgery center at the University of Minnesota starts Friday.
U officials have been thinking of building one for the past 20 years to take the place of the current facility, located on Delaware Street near the University of Minnesota Medical Center - Fairview on the East Bank.
The new site, located a few blocks away on Essex and Erie streets, will house clinics where physicians treat patients. It will also expand the U's space for clinical research and the education of health science students.
The new layout enables the U to consolidate services, which officials there say will make care better and more convenient for patients.
"Historically, our patients have had to go to multiple clinics and sites, and it's difficult to navigate through the existing buildings," said Carolyn Wilson, president of the University of Minnesota Medical Center. "The redesign will allow us to have a patient come to a particular area, and our providers will come to them."
U officials say the current center -- located in the 1976 Phillips-Wangensteen Building -- is cramped and antiquated, and limits the clinical research and training the U can provide. It's in dire need of remodeling, they say, and its facilities are below the industry standard. Its location is in the middle of campus, which doctors say makes it difficult for patients to reach.
Bobbi Daniels, CEO of University of Minnesota Physicians, says the new site "provides a state-of-the-art facility in an easy-to-access site that will allow us to provide even better care to meet patients' needs."
The new building is expected to open by January 2016.
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