USC unveils new medical office building plans

by Brenda Maceo
An architectural rendering shows the completed HCC II building as seen from the Eamer Plaza entrance on San Pablo Street. The $49 million, four-story building is roughly double the size of the current Healthcare Consultation Center.

With the number of private patients at USC steadily rising, USC and Tenet are moving ahead with plans to significantly expand patient care facilities on the Health Sciences Campus.

Later this year, USC and Tenet will break ground on two major building projects: the Healthcare Consultation Center II and a 10-story tower addition to USC University Hospital.

The $49-million HCC II is a four-story medical office building that will be built on the corner of San Pablo and Alcazar streets, stretching to the entrance of the Eamer Medical Plaza. At 238,000 square feet, HCC II will be roughly twice the size of the current Healthcare Consultation Center. It will include two underground levels of parking as well as adjacent surface parking for patients.

USC Care Medical Group is leading the planning for HCC II, working closely with Bob Stephenson, USC’s new associate senior vice president for capital construction development, who is overseeing the construction.

"HCC II is being designed for the most flexibility and highest level of customer service in our patient care delivery," said Jeffry Huffman, president and CEO of USC Care Medical Group. "The design will allow medical practices to expand or contract over time based on patient volumes. Each floor will offer core services such as patient waiting and reception areas, exam rooms, consultation areas and conference rooms."

A courtyard area will span between HCC II and the HCC. The courtyard will include a walkway entrance from USC University Hospital and its parking structure.

The building design will feature several entrances to help alleviate traffic coming in and out of the Eamer Medical Plaza drive. A special drop-off area will be built off the lower Plaza entrance, or patients may enter off of Alcazar Street.

The first floor of the HCC II will be dedicated to a new USC University Hospital Outpatient Surgery Center and diagnostic imaging facilities, including MRI and CT scanning.

Other planned tenants for HCC II include orthopaedic surgery, psychiatry, anesthesia’s pain management program, neurology, head and neck surgery, and gynecology. The building will also include a multi-disciplinary medical clinic for special programs and services.

According to Huffman, the planning team intends to make it a medical office building for the 21st century: All clinic spaces will be wired for digital charting and electronic record keeping.

"We are currently testing several of these state-of-the-art systems in our newly opened USC Executive Health and Imaging Center in downtown Los Angeles," said Huffman. "The smaller scale of our Executive Health Center provides us with a perfect setting to test personal digital assistants or PDAs, wireless downloading of patient information and other advances that will soon become standard to all medical settings."

The exterior of the building has been designed by RBB Architects to compliment the nearby existing facilities. The building will include precast concrete panels made from the same mix as the Neurogenetic Institute building now under construction, as well as matching glass. Punched windows will give it a look similar to the current HCC. An off-white exterior color will compliment USC University Hospital and Doheny Eye Institute colors.

Landscaped perimeters of the building along San Pablo and Alcazar will begin to define the northern edge of the Health Sciences Campus as proposed in the campus master plan.

"We are fortunate to have Bob Stephenson, Project Manager Stan Westfall and the team at RBB Architecture on our team," said Huffman. "This is an outstanding and experienced group, and I am confident that we will end up with the very highest quality of facility."

The HCC II complex is being built in concert with the planned expansion of USC University Hospital. The hospital’s new 10-story tower will add 14 operating rooms, 48 inpatient beds, and four floors of unfinished shell space for future development. The tower, with an entrance off Norfolk Avenue, will expand surgical support and sterile areas, as well as pre- and post-operative areas. It is scheduled to open in December 2004. HCC II is scheduled for completion in December 2003.