by Monte Sahlin

By AT News Team, July 16, 2015

Plans to expand the children's hospital, build a new adult hospital and a research center were announced Tuesday (July 15) in a news conference at Loma Linda University (LLU), the leading Adventist health institution. It will include systems to enable high tech collaboration of an unprecedented nature, the journalists, civic leaders and health professionals in attendance were told.

The planning began when the institution was told that new regulations related to earthquake safety in the State of California will make the current hospital, with its classic three round towers, unusable in 2020. Groundbreaking for the new facilities will come next year.

The new plan is "nothing short of historic," stated Dr. Richard Hart, president of LLU. The new facilities will be "designed from the ground up to match the quality of our care and the passion for our mission." The overall strategy is "campus transformation not just of buildings but of processes that I think is so critical to what we're about."

The project will improve accessibility and provide the best, new equipment for students and faculty. It includes a Wholeness Institute which will conduct innovative research on health care, wellness and the spiritual needs of humanity. The plan also includes funding for student scholarships, faculty development and community service opportunities for both university students and youths in the local community.

The entire plan will cost $1.2 billion and the first $150 million has already been raised, those in attendance were told. A $100 million donation from one couple in nearby Riverside, California, launched the fund raising effort. A total of $350 million is to be raised from philanthropy and $175 million is expected from state bond earmarks. No information was given as to where the other half billion dollars will come from, but sources told Adventist Today that such a plan may include other kinds of bonds and some funds that have been set aside toward depreciation over the decades.

This is the largest fund raising campaign in the history of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, said Rachelle Bussell, senior vice president for advancement at LLU, six times larger than any other philanthropic campaign attempted by the institution. The $100 million kick-off gift came from Dennis and Carol Troesh. He has been the owner of Robertson's Ready Mix, a supplier of cement for construction in Corona, another nearby California town, since the 1970s. Last year he sold it to Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, an international firm based in Japan. She is an author of children's books.

Started in 1905 by the Adventist denomination, LLU has graduated more than 10,500 physicians over the years and 45,000 other health professionals. It has also conducted research for the National Institutes of Health that has profoundly impacted the understanding of how to prevent major health problems such as heart disease. The university includes eight professional schools, six hospitals and more than 800 medical doctors who provide instruction plus other faculty. It is a massive testimony to the Adventist commitment to health as part of God's intention for humanity.

Information for this story was found in the Los Angeles Times as well as in news releases from the university.