News Release

January 30, 2007

Contact: Jane Shaskan, 860-679-4777

UConn Trustees Authorize Replacement of University Hospital

FARMINGTON, CONN. – The University of Connecticut Board of Trustees has authorized construction of a new 352-bed hospital to replace and expand the UConn Health Center’s John Dempsey Hospital, setting in motion a major modernization and transformation of the University hospital, which has had no major upgrades since it opened 32 years ago.

The action, approved by Trustees at their meeting Tuesday in Storrs, is an essential step in a project that would replace the University’s existing 224-bed hospital on the Health Center’s Farmington campus with a new six-story, 546,000 square foot facility. The Board of Trustees’ authorization follows endorsement of the project by the Health Center’s Board of Directors last week.

“After careful consideration and much discussion over many months the Board of Directors has concluded that this project is right for the Health Center and, more importantly, right for the people of Connecticut,” says Gerard N. Burrow, M.D., chair of the Health Center’s Board of Directors.

Under the replacement plan, the new hospital building would be located directly in front of the existing main hospital entrance and house most of the hospital’s services. The existing hospital, which opened in 1975, contains 224 licensed beds, 204 for adults and 20 for infants in multi-bedded rooms. All are in service and staffed. Of those beds, 116 are dedicated to specialized services, such as newborn, maternity, psychiatry and Department of Correction patients, leaving only 108 flexible beds to serve the region’s general health care needs.

“The University of Connecticut Health Center plays a vital role in the delivery of quality health care throughout the state,” said University President Philip E. Austin. “The Board of Trustees’ action today will help mightily to retain and attract outstanding faculty and students into the 21st century and ultimately will help us fulfill our mission of preparing outstanding physicians and other health care professionals to meet Connecticut’s needs.” The President pointed out that the Health Center plays an important part in the State’s economy, and noted that the hospital replacement plan will generate 300 well-paying new jobs.

“The quality of our medical and dental schools is directly related to the quality of our hospital,” says Peter J. Deckers, M.D., executive director for health affairs at the Health Center and dean of the School of Medicine. “Our current hospital has been undersized and is increasingly unable to meet the growing demand for our services. This is about a creating a facility that will allow us to adapt to evolving standards of care and medical technology,” he says. “The time is now if we are to fulfill our educational, research and patient care missions.”

The project is estimated to cost $495 million, exclusive of financing. “We are not asking the state for any additional dollars to help fund the project. We propose to finance it through the reallocation of existing UConn 2000 funds, through state-backed bonds that would be repaid with revenues from the new hospital, and through philanthropic gifts to the Health Center,” says Deckers.

Financing is based on the General Assembly designating the hospital project a named project under the UConn 2000 program, which, if approved, will allow Board of Trustees to reallocate existing funds in the program.

The project also requires approval by the state Office of Health Care Access under its Certificate of Need process before construction can begin.

“Preparation of highly skilled physicians and other health care professionals is central to the Health Center’s mission and critical to the quality of medical care in the State of Connecticut,” said John W. Rowe, M.D., chairman of the University’s Board of Trustees. “Among its other benefits, this project will enable us to continue providing cutting-edge training for decades to come. We look forward to sharing our vision for the future of the Health Center and discussing details of our plan with Connecticut’s citizens and their elected leaders in the coming weeks.”

For more information about the hospital expansion project, visit

UConn Health includes the schools of medicine and dental medicine, the UConn Medical Group, University Dentists, and John Dempsey Hospital. Home to Bioscience Connecticut, UConn Health pursues a mission of providing outstanding health care education in an environment of exemplary patient care, research and public service. More information about UConn Health is available at

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