Preliminary designs unveiled for $185M addition to UMD Medical Center

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The three design options presented by the University of Maryland Medical Center. Photo by Ed Gunts.

The University of Maryland Medical Center unveiled preliminary designs today for a 10-story, $185 million addition that planners say has the potential to become the new face of the hospital.

The Roslyn and Leonard Stoler Center for Advanced Medicine is the name of the project, which is being planned to rise at the southwest corner of S. Greene and W. Baltimore streets, where the main entrance to the hospital is now.

Linda Whitmore, director of project development for University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), said the Stoler center is a new building but is being treated as an addition to the North Hospital at 22 S. Greene St., a 13-story brick building that dates from the 1930s.

Whitmore said the building will take up one of the last available building sites on the hospital’s campus and reflects a continuing shift toward more outpatient services and more private rooms, rather than semi-private rooms. Because of its location, she said, it will be highly visible to people driving down Greene Street.

“This building will be a new identity for the medical center,” she said. “We want this building to be as forward-looking as the medicine” and patient care inside.

The building is named after Roslyn and Leonard Stoler, who gave the medical center $25 million last year to build a state-of-the-art tower that will enhance cancer care. It was the largest gift in the center’s history.

The building will be the new home of the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenbaum Comprehensive Cancer Center, with one floor for infusion and one floor containing outpatient clinics. It also will have three floors for patients staying overnight, 62 beds in all.

The preliminary plans, unveiled during a presentation to Baltimore’s Urban Design and Architecture Advisory Panel, show that the medical center is making progress in preparing for construction.

Design team members, led by HDR of Northern Virginia, showed the panel 12 different designs they developed before narrowing the candidates to three possibilities.

Whitmore and Kent Bonner, an architect with HDR, said the medical campus has a wide range of architectural styles, from traditional, with the North Hospital, to contemporary, with the Gudelsky tower at W. Lombard and S. Greene streets. They said the goal with the new project was to create a building that is respectful of its setting and reflects the quality of services delivered today.

In one version, the building’s west façade is broken into different parts that would express what is going on inside. In a second version, the west wall goes from being very opaque, with a high percentage of solid surface, to very transparent, with a high percentage of glass. In the third version, the building is more monolithic, with an exterior made of glass and metal.

In each case, the planners said, the building would be designed so the ground plane can still be open and used as the main entrance and patient drop-off. They also said they will be modifying the North Hospital building to add elevators and otherwise reconfigure the lobby, and that the addition is being designed to have the capability of supporting another three floors at some point in the future.

Whitmore said the hospital has about 766 beds right now and the proposed addition will bring it to slightly more than 800 beds. They said the medical center is currently going through the “certificate of need” review process with the state to get approvals for the additional beds.

The medical center representatives told the design review panel that they do not have a preferred candidate among the three designs and would be relying on the panel’s comments and other factors, including cost estimates, to decide which version to develop further.

Whitmore said the center hasn’t yet finalized plans for getting patients and staff in and out of the hospital while construction is underway. “We’re still trying to figure that out.”

The panel members said they didn’t have a preference either. They urged the medical center’s team to pay attention to the way circulation at the main entrance is treated for cars and pedestrians. They also urged the designers to give as many rooms as possible good views of the park that’s across Greene Street from the construction site.

Whichever version is selected, Bonner said, the addition has the ability to change the image of the hospital.

“The idea is for it become a landmark not only for the University of Maryland Medical Center but for the city.”

Ed Gunts

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