MORENO VALLEY — Construction of a 200,000-square-foot outpatient surgery center, imaging center and medical office building on the campus of Riverside University Health System—Medical Center reached a major milestone Wednesday.

A steel beam bearing healthcare, government and business leaders’ signatures was hoisted to the highest point of the three-story building during the ceremonial “topping” event. When it opens in early 2020, officials say the new medical office building will expand access to quality local healthcare and attract new patients to the 125-year-old teaching hospital and its community-based services.

The project will occupy about 17.4 acres on the south side of the Medical Center campus, directly north of Cactus Avenue, according to a news release. A second-floor pedestrian bridge will connect the outpatient building with the existing 439-bed Medical Center. An outpatient pharmacy and lab services along with a 7,000-square-foot lobby and café will also be housed in the new complex.

“We’re transforming the way we deliver health and behavioral health services to better serve our patients and growing communities,” RUHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Arnold Tabuenca said in a prepared statement. He has been a surgeon and leader at the Medical Center for more than 25 years. “This is the most exciting time in our history since I trained as a resident here decades ago. I could not be more pleased to be part of this important mission.”

The building is being paid for and constructed through a public-private partnership between the County of Riverside and Newport Beach-based Trammel Crow Co. Tom Bak, senior managing director for Tramell Crow’s Newport Beach offices, said the design and function of the new project will be an asset to the Medical Center.

“We think this project is going to enhance the campus and the entire area around it,” Bak said. At the topping event, Bak explained how the building’s top beam, made of enduring steel, is a symbol of permanence and security at the front door of an important institution.

As she observed a fresh green tree atop the steel frame of the building, the medical center’s Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Cruikshank said she understood from Scandinavian folklore that the tree symbolized bringing life into the building.

“That symbol, for RUHS and the county of Riverside, reflects the addition of a new and important family member to the network of services RUHS capably and compassionately provides and has provided for over 125 years,” Cruikshank said. “This milestone reflects our long-standing investment into quality healthcare and our commitment to serving the health and wellbeing of all the people in one of the country’s most populous regions.”

For Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley, the Medical Center campus is an important institution providing lifesaving care and services, as well as an important economic driver, employing more than 3,000 health professionals and contributing to the annual $1.6 billion contributions Riverside University Health System makes to the Inland economy.

“We want our residents to be healthy and to be able to get healthcare close to home when they do need it,” Ashley said in a prepared statement. “And, when we can, we also want to keep our healthcare spending close to home.”

The Riverside County Economic Development Agency negotiated the transaction for construction of the project and is providing oversight of the project through its completion. General contractor Millie Severson and the architectural firm Ware Malcomb are also providing their services to the project.

RUHS includes Riverside County’s behavioral and public health services, in addition to the 439-bed Medical Center in Moreno Valley and 11 federally qualified community health centers in communities across the County of Riverside. To learn more visit here.