Mayo Clinic continues rapid expansion with two new projects announced Tuesday

The Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville has committed to spending more than $300 million on construction since Gianrico Farrugia became CEO in 2015.

That will almost double the square footage of its buildings, resulting in doubling the number of patients it treats, which was 105,000 last year, Farrugia said.

The latest announcement of how that money is being spent came Tuesday, when Mayo announced that it would add four new floors to the one-story Mayo South Building, adding 80,000 square feet. It will also remodel 40,000 existing square feet in the Davis Building. Those two projects will cost $70.5 million.

The goal of all the new building is to enhance Mayo in Jacksonville’s status as a destination medical center for the Southeast, a place where people with complex medical issues come because they know that the latest medical techniques are available and research for new approaches is ongoing, Farrugia said.

“This gets us closer,” Farrugia said. “We’re not done yet. But this is a big step.”

The projects announced Tuesday will provide new space for cardiovascular, cardiology and cardio-thoracic surgery; expand the spine center and pain rehabilitation programs; expand available laboratories; and provide space and equipment for a molecular imaging center for radiology.

Already announced are three other new buildings on which construction has begun:

• A destination medical building that will initially be four stories and 150,000 square feet but could eventually add 11 more stories. It would provide integrated services for complex cancers, as well as doubling the space available for neurologic and neurosurgical care.

• A three-story, 75,000-square-foot lung restoration center, being built in partnership with United Therapeutics, which has developed a technology that can take lungs deemed too damaged to be used for transplantation and clean and restore them to viability.

In the year 2014, about 8,600 people who agreed to be organ donors died but only 1,925 had lungs those were considered acceptable for transplant.

The new center will be able to restore about 2,000 damaged lungs annually. The third floor of the building will be used by Mayo and United Therapeutics to do research on regenerative medicine.

• A state-of-the-art positron emission tomography (PET) radiochemistry facility, which will include a cyclotron — a particle accelerator important in the production of radiopharmaceuticals. The facility will produce choline C-11, which will be used in the molecular imaging center to “light up” areas where prostate cancer has spread, an approach pioneered at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Some of the choline C-11 will also go to Birdsall Building and the Griffin Building, the two buildings at Mayo Jacksonville devoted exclusively to research, where scientists will search for other applications of choline C-11.

What is tricky for both the practitioners using the choline C-11 to identify cancer and the researchers looking for other applications is that choline C-11 has a half-life of 20 minutes. So a lot of precise planning has to be done and it has to be delivered quickly.

Meanwhile, research is being done to see if radioactive ammonia, which can be made at the radiochemistry facility, has applications in identifying problems with the heart, lungs and brain, Farrugia said.

Working with the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization and the Florida Department of Transportation, Mayo will build a new off-ramp from the westbound lanes of Butler Boulevard onto the Mayo campus as part of redesign of the off-ramp from Butler to San Pablo Road, on which Mayo’s main entrance is currently located. Mayo’s share of the project will be $2.6 million.

Although it hasn’t been announced yet, an expansion of the Mayo North Building will be part of the $300 million in planned expansion projects. And there is a space between the Griffin Building and the lung restoration building where Farrugia would like to build a third research building. But that project has not been funded and remains on his wish list.

The lead gift of $25 million on the project announced Tuesday came from Dan and Brenda Davis. The Davis family has been a longtime supporter of the Mayo Clinic. Winn-Dixie co-founder J.E. Davis and his family donated 400 acres of land and launched a fundraising campaign in 1984. Mayo opened in Jacksonville in 1986.

The facility currently employs 5,900 people in Northeast Florida and contributes roughly $2 billion to the Florida economy.

Charlie Patton: (904) 359-4413

Florida Times-Union


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