Former Mayor Jerry Sanders heads final fundraising push for cardiovascular center in La Jolla


By Pat Sherman

Scripps Health marked the completion of the exterior of its new seven-story Prebys Cardiovascular Institute in La Jolla Sept. 4, while also naming former San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders chair of a campaign to raise the final $60 million needed to pay for construction.

“With the completion of the exterior of the Prebys Cardiovascular Institute, we are one step closer to completing a center for innovation that will bring together leading physicians and premier cardiovascular services in San Diego,” Scripps president and CEO Chris Van Gorder said.

Developer and philanthropist Conrad Prebys, who made his fortune in real estate and construction, gave $45 million to kick-start the project and was named an honorary campaign chair. Van Gorder said it is the largest gift in the history of Scripps Health.

The building, built to withstand a magnitude 8.0 earthquake, is the cornerstone of a 25-year plan to remake the Scripps Memorial campus and bring it up to earthquake standards.

John Engle, Scripps’ chief development officer, also thanked Eileen and John “Jack” Anderson, who gave $25 million toward construction of the nearby 175,000-square-foot Scripps Clinic facility, to be named the John R. Anderson V Medical Pavilion in tribute to their son, who succumbed to cancer in 2004. Construction is scheduled to begin later this year.

“Philanthropy has always played an important role in Scripps La Jolla’s growth,” Engle said. “Our founder, Ellen Browning Scripps, set out almost 90 years ago to create a haven where the sick could receive exceptional care. Today, it is individuals like Conrad Prebys and Jerry Sanders who are helping to fulfill Miss Ellen’s legacy and keep her dream alive.”

The 383,000-square-foot cardiovascular center on Scripps Memorial Hospital’s La Jolla campus is on target to open in 2015. It will have 108 inpatient beds in private rooms, 59 intensive care beds, six state-of-the-art operating rooms and as many as six cardiac catheterization labs with advanced medical technology.

The facility also will include the latest in wireless medical technology, satellite nursing stations (so that a nurse is never more than 60 feet away from a patient) and two hybrid operating suites, where doctors can perform both open-heart surgery and catheterization procedures.

“These new hybrid rooms let us do the procedures together, and these combination approaches work to get patients out of the hospital (faster), and are less invasive,” said Scripps Chief of Cardiology Paul Teirstein, also touting minor evidence-based design details such as floor-to-ceiling windows, “because there’s data that shows that if you have a view and you have some light, you need less pain medication.”

The $456 million project is being financed through a combination of operating revenue, borrowing and donations.

So far, approximately $120 million in philanthropic gifts have been raised toward the $180 million fundraising goal.

Sanders, who ended his two terms as mayor last December, will lead the Campaign for Cardiovascular Care to raise the rest of the money. He is the current president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.