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University of Utah Health plans major medical campus for West Valley City

Apr 03, 2022 08:22PM ● By Darrell Kirby

A rendering shows what the University of Utah Health proposed medical care campus would look like when completed on a 21-acre site in West Valley City. (Courtesy University of Utah Health)

By Darrell Kirby | [email protected]

It could be the largest capital project in West Valley City history and would put the city on the map as a regional medical care destination.

University of Utah Health is proposing to build what it describes as a “full-service health, community and education center” with the centerpiece being a full-service hospital a bit smaller than the size of its flagship University Hospital on the U of U campus.

The complex will be developed on a 21-acre site at 3700 S. 5600 West. Groundbreaking for the first of what is expected to be a multiphase project is tentatively planned for 2024 with an opening in 2027. 

“This health and community center will be the first of its kind in the valley and possibly the state,” Dr. Michael Good, CEO of University of Utah Health, said in a statement.

Besides medical care, the complex will also be a center for teaching and training students in various health care professions in partnership with Salt Lake Community College and could create about 1,400 jobs from nursing assistants to doctors. “We’re excited about the possibilities,” University of Utah President Taylor Randall told the West Valley City Journal. “And most importantly, excited about working with the communities out there to design and plan something that hopefully will make a difference for everyone.”

The Utah Legislature authorized the Utah Board of Higher Education to acquire a $400 million bond on behalf of U of U Health—much of it to build the hospital. Additional funds will be raised for equipment, furnishings and the like. “All in all, it’s estimated to be about a $500 million project,” Randall said. “The business case is quite compelling, given the health care needs and also what we are hoping to be able to do with respect to job development in that area.”

The hospital will provide emergency services and an array of other types of medical care that are still being considered. “Everything from cancer treatment to diabetes to maternity,” Randall said of the possibilities.

While the general concept of the campus is taking shape, Randall, who took over as the university’s 17th president last summer, said much work remains to be done. Aiding in that effort is the school’s University Neighborhood Partners, a group that brings together the university and organizations representing residents of Salt Lake County’s west side communities to improve the quality of life. “Hopefully, there will be a lot of community input as we get this put together,” Randall said.

When fully completed as planned in the coming years, it will likely be the most expensive development ever undertaken in West Valley City. “I don’t know that there’s one that will outdo this one,” said Mayor Karen Lang.

It’s another sign of the city’s coming of age with the redevelopment of the area around city hall, a burgeoning light industrial corridor on the north side, and commercial and housing development on what available land remains around the city. “I think people are realizing what a great city we are,” Lang added.

The Mayor said the new health care campus will not diminish the importance of Jordan Valley Hospital’s West Valley Campus in the central part of the city. “Jordan Valley has served West Valley so well for so long and will continue to do so,” she said of the facility previously known  as Pioneer Valley Hospital.

Despite who feels they’ll benefit most from the future University of Utah Health campus—the university, West Valley City, or people who live on the west side of the valley—“We hope it’s a win for all of us,” Randall said.