University Medical Center invites patients, staff and neighbors of the former Tucson General Hospital to pick up a free souvenir brick from the defunct osteopathic hospital, now being demolished to make way for a comprehensive cancer center.
Demolition of the hospital's main bed tower began this week, but demolition work has been ongoing since last summer, said Don Cutman, UMC project manager. Bricks are available just outside the gate to the construction site at Allen Road east of Campbell Avenue. The public may not enter the job site due to safety issues.
Friends of the former Tucson General Hospital are welcome to pick up one or two bricks as a keepsake. No appointment is necessary.
The 107-bed former hospital was designed by noted Tucson architect Arthur T. Brown and built in phases in the 1960s and 1970s. UMC worked with Annie Nequette of the University of Arizona Modern Architecture Program and many others to salvage Brown's distinctive aluminum sunscreen on the hospital's bed tower. The sunscreen was preserved and will be re-used at Reid Park Zoo, said Steve Brigham, UMC director of Capital Planning & Projects.
"It is a testament to Tucson's strong community interests that many people with differing priorities could work together under the deadline of a demolition contract to preserve this piece of Tucson's architectural history," Brigham said. UMC also retained SWCA Environmental Consultants to photograph and document the buildings and significant architectural drawings. A report on Brown's building will be donated to the UA Architecture Archives.
The former Tucson General Hospital has been empty since UMC purchased it in February 2001. UMC is working on a master plan for a new oncology center at the 17-acre site, with construction to begin in the spring. The first phase of construction will include clinical exam and treatment facilities and patient and family support services to open in 2006. UMC hopes to create an easily accessible "one-stop center" where cancer patients can see physicians, receive treatments and ongoing care, and have access to resources such as cancer research, support groups and other services. Monthly updates on the construction progress are available on UMC's Web site, www.umcarizona.org.