Multipurpose health facility to break ground

Graphic by The Miami Hurricane

Groundbreaking for a new, state-of-the-art outpatient clinic on the Coral Gables campus is expected to begin in January of 2012. UHealth at Coral Gables, an extension of the University of Miami Health System, will be a multiple specialty, urgent and primary care facility intended to further meet the health care needs of students, faculty and the local community.

Designed by Perkins + Will, an award-winning architectural firm, UHealth will boast four floors of more than 135 exam rooms all housed within 225,000 square feet.

“The idea was to create a building that would be iconic so that the community understands that we’re there, but at the same time compliment the current architecture of the Gables campus,” said Lazara Pagan, chief nursing and operating officer for University of Miami Hospitals and Clinics and the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The new building will include a full imaging center, ophthalmologists from the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, cancer specialists from the Sylvester Cancer Center, and will be the new home of the Student Health Center. Physicians from the Miller School of Medicine will provide primary care, outpatient surgery and sports medicine.

According to Michele Chulik, associate vice president and executive director of clinical operations for UHealth, planning for UHealth at Coral Gables began about a year ago after assessing and evaluating a need to establish more clinics near the Coral Gables campus.

“A student, faculty member or anyone from the community can go there and basically get all of their care for all of their needs,” Pagan said. “Whether it’s an appointment to get your hearing tested, dermatology or primary care, you can go and get anything you need done in one building.

Over the next 24 months, UHealth staff members will be frequently updating the UM community on the progress of the facility. Focus groups and other vehicles of communication will be used to meet students’ needs.

“I think it’s an amazing concept. The idea of the University of Miami branching out and making an impact on the medical field is fascinating,” said sophomore Cassandra Pino, who is majoring in health sector management. “Even better is how the center can benefit both the students and the rest of the community.”

UHealth at Coral Gables will be next to the Department of Psychology’s Flipse Building. Its main entrance will face Dickinson Drive.

Jonathan Borge may be contacted at