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New Master Plan to Help With Harbor-UCLA's Crazy Crowding

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LA County recently released the Master Plan for the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, which calls for a massive overhaul of the 72 acre site located in the long sliver of unincorporated land between the 110 Freeway and Torrance. As the only trauma center serving the South Bay, Harbor-UCLA has been the focus of a lot of bad press in recent years, including citations from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the California Department of Public Health. Some of the problem, at least, stems from crowd control. An LA Times article from October 2011 has the statistics: "the hospital...has 538 beds. In the last fiscal year, about 80,600 patients visited the emergency room and 23,000 patients were admitted to the hospital." The goal of the new Master Plan--the work of architecture and planning firm Perkins+Will--is to improve the hospital's less than stellar track record by making substantial changes to the facility and programming of the site. As explained by a post on the website of County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas: "The goal of the new plan is to more efficiently provide health care services, revitalize the neighborhood, and enhance business, education and job opportunities for the community."

The Master Plan is meant to guide the development of the site over the next 20 years. The effort is already underway with a $323 million Harbor-UCLA Surgery/Emergency Replacement Project, set for completion by 2013 (that project is represented on the site plan above between the "New Hospital" and the "Existing Tower"). If and when the build out of the Master Plan is complete, the most prominent new feature will be an eight-story hospital at the center of the campus. The existing tower will have be converted to different uses because it will no longer be up to code for hospital uses.

As for the rest of the Master Plan's goals, perhaps the most noticeable change is the reconfiguration of onsite parking. Many of the current site's surface parking lots will be consolidated into parking structures, but the Master Plan's target of 3,590 parking spaces exceeds the 2,700 spaces required by code. The Master Plan also encourages integration with the surrounding community with "Commercial and community based Development" along Carson Street to the north of the parcel. Interestingly, a great deal of the site's western end will be land banked for "future development" (cha-CHING).

Now that the plan is drafted, approval and implementation loom. According to MRT's website: "Once the Harbor-UCLA master plan is finalized, the County of Los Angeles will begin its own planning process to determine how they will finance the redevelopment of the campus over the next 20 years."
· Harbor-UCLA Master Plan Meeting [Mark Ridley-Thomas]
· Harbor-UCLA Medical Center cited for safety violations [LA Times]