Tom Smart, Deseret News
MURRAY — A new medical facility will bring top-of-the-line skin and eye treatment to a central location in Salt Lake County.
It also has the room to expand, paving the way for future growth.
"Invest in your future, and you'll have one," outgoing Murray Mayor Dan Snarr said Monday after a groundbreaking ceremony for the Midvalley Health Center, 243 E. 6100 South.
Investing in the future is exactly what University of Utah officials are doing.
The center will bring the University of Utah's Moran Eye Center and Department of Dermatology to central Salt Lake County. Officials expect the building will be ready for use in spring 2015.
"The fact of the matter is that the center of our population continues to move to the southwest, and we're stuck right up there against the hill," said Randall J. Olson, U. professor, chairman of the university's ophthalmology department and CEO of the Moran Eye Center.
"What this provides is very easy access to everyone who wants to come to a facility that's providing all of our main players right here, and I think it's something the university needs to do more of," Olson said.
Clinics not housed on the main medical campus are operated from leased facilities, so the new medical center will ultimately save the university and patients money, he told a group of about 100 business leaders and University of Utah officials assembled for the ceremony.
In 2013, University of Utah Health Care ranked as one of the top 10 academic medical centers in the country in accountability and quality, a legacy officials say they hope to continue with the new facility.
The Midvalley Health Center has the potential to expand within the future building, as well as in buildings to the north owned by University of Utah Health Care, according to Karen Newman, service director for the University of Utah Department of Dermatology.
"It doesn't look like much now, but this will be a great facility," David Entwistle, CEO of University of Utah hospitals and clinics, told the crowd.
Behind Entwistle lay a dirt field, with a thin red carpet rolled out to it. He later stood there with city and hospital officials, each holding a shovel with a golden spade, to break ground for the new facility.
The Midvalley Health Center will be an 81,000-square-foot clinic with about 70 patient rooms for ophthalmology and dermatology services housed on the first four floors, according to Newman and Brent Price, administrative director of the Moran Eye Center. The fifth floor of the building will be left open for expansion.
The center will become one of 14 University of Utah specialty clinics in the Salt Lake Valley. It will be the university's only clinic to offer the whole range of care for ophthalmology and dermatology.
"We feel confident that we can offer top-of-the-line treatment here," said John J. Zone, chairman of the University of Utah Department of Dermatology.
The Murray facility will also house clinical and health services research. The end goal of the facility is to deliver "more efficient, cost-effective care," Zone said.
University of Utah Health Care has also purchased land in Farmington for a community health center, similar to the South Jordan community health facility that opened in 2012.
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