Nearly a decade after discussions first began about a new and expanded hospital, officials cut the ribbon at the new University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro on Saturday.
“Welcome to your new hospital,” Hospital President and CEO Barry Rabner told members of the public came for a day of celebration and a sneak peek at the new $445 million hospital complex off Route 1 in Plainsboro.
“Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to serve you in the past and hope to do our best to serve you in the future,” Rabner said.
The new hospital will officially open May 22, the same day doors will close at the hospital on Witherspoon Street in Princeton.
Construction began at the 171-acre property, located between Scudders Mill and Plainsboro roads, in October 2008 after hospital officials decided they needed a larger facility than could be accommodated on the nine-acre parcel on Witherspoon Street, where the hospital has served local residents for decades.
The new location is closer to more people the hospital traditionally serves, according to hospital officials. The complex was built by Turner Construction and funded in part by more than 9,000 donors who contributed more than $147 million.
“It is a great day, I believe, not just for Plainsboro, not just for Mercer County, I think it’s an incredible day for New Jersey and the nation with this state of the art facility that is going to provide quality healthcare for thousands of new Jerseyans and lead, I think, the way of the nation,” U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said. “Congratulations.”
Hospital officials said they considered more than a dozen potential locations before choosing Plainsboro.
“This site in Plainsboro was clearly the most desirable form a geographic and aesthetic point of view, overlooking the river, closer to closer to 70 percent of the people that we have traditionally served and large enough to enable us to create a healthcare campus,” Rabner said.
The new campus includes buildings for office research, assisted living, nursing and a fitness and wellness center.
The hospital will have 235 beds in single-patient rooms compared to 215 beds in Princeton in double-patient rooms. The new site can also accommodate additional future construction.
U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) was among the dignitaries helping to celebrate the hospital’s achievement.