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2 medical facilities unveiled this week


Johns Hopkins is holding a doubleheader this week, dedicating two new buildings devoted to medicine.

On Thursday afternoon, a $17.5 million geriatric center will be unveiled at Francis Scott Key Medical Center, which is operated by the John Hopkins Health System. The following day, Johns Hopkins University will dedicate a $98 million research building on the campus of Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The Johns Hopkins Geriatric Center will allow Francis Scott Key to move its geriatric department out of a building that dates to the late 1800s, said Dr. Judy Reitz, vice president of nursing and clinical affairs for Francis Scott Key.

Patients will begin moving into the new 250-bed geriatric facility on June 11, Dr. Reitz said.

The brick, six-story building is located at 4940 Eastern Ave. in Highlandtown and will serve as the hub for all Johns Hopkins Health System geriatrics and gerontology programs.

The new building "has the physical structure that is very unique," Dr. Reitz said. "It has been designed to maximize a residential feeling."

Residential areas of the geriatric center have community rooms with large picture windows, and individual rooms have windows that are set low to give wheelchair-bound or bedridden patients a view, Dr. Reitz said.

The Johns Hopkins Geriatric Center was paid for by tax-exempt bonds obtained through the Maryland Health and Higher Education Facilities Authority and by a state grant.

On the East Baltimore campus of Johns Hopkins Hospital, a maze of more than 40 buildings within a four-block area, workmen are putting the final touches on the Richard Starr Ross Research Building.

The structure is devoted to research into the genetic causes of disease, said Dr. David A. Blake, senior associate dean for the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Blake played a major role in convincing Johns Hopkins that a new research facility was needed.

A few years ago, he went to then-dean Richard Ross "and pointed out how overbooked we were and pointed out that we would have to start turning down grants," Dr. Blake said. "And that the fire department was getting angry with us for setting up workstations in the corridors."

The result of his lobbying is a 10-story structure at 720 Rutland Ave. that will have more than 200 laboratories, 350,000 square feet of space and a central conference room on each floor. More than 600 faculty scientists, students and technicians are scheduled to move in between Aug. 26 and Nov. 1.

Completion of the building coincides with a push by a Baltimore business development group to base the region's economy on life sciences, said Michael M. E. Johns, dean of the school of medicine.

"Every clinical department in the school will be able to expand their research activities," Dr. Johns said. "The possibilities for the future of biomedical research are spectacular right now. I think it fits right into the Greater Baltimore Committee's theme for Baltimore for the next decade, and that is to emphasize the life sciences. It will be important for us to translate the [research] work done into applications that can be applied to patients in the hospital to improve their health."

The Ross Building was funded through tax-exempt bonds.

Whiting-Turner Contracting did the contracting work on the Ross Building and the geriatric center.

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