Wilmer Eye Institute breaks ground on new, upgraded facility


The Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins University School of Med-icine opened a $100 million, privately funded, 207,000-square-foot facility that will build on the current research and clinical space for its 130 full-time faculty (90 clinician scientists; 40 PhD researchers).

Key Points

More than 400 people attended the groundbreaking, including some well-known names in philanthropic circles: Boone Pickens, Richard A. Forsythe, Robert H. Smith, and their respective spouses.

The current 300,000-square-foot institute's new addition, in the works for a decade, is scheduled for completion in summer 2009. The six-story building will feature a glass atrium and façade, which will mirror the image of Wilmer Eye Institute's iconic dome to symbolize the uniting of the old facility with the new structure.

"[Dr. Goldberg] determined there really was an enormous need for an expansion for our research facilities," Dr. McDonnell said. "We are at maximum capacity for surgery. Although we're the top-funded ophthalmology program in the country, as more people are successful in securing grants, they are limited by what they can do with the space available. This building will eliminate that limitation."

Dr. Goldberg said that the new facility "is an enormous infusion of space, money, and energy to build on Wilmer's exemplary track record in surgery and also in fundamental research. It will almost double our current space. It's massive, and it's probably the most important event in the history of the institute since it was founded by the original Dr. Wilmer in 1925."

How it evolved

Richard Thomas, MBA, administrator, Wilmer Eye Institute, has been involved in planning the facility for nearly 4 years.

Thomas recalled, "We started by bringing in an architectural space-planning company to do an entire analysis of our current needs and projections to the future. The report said that, for what we wanted to do in the future, we could not do it in our current space, not even with remodeling. They recommended we build a new building, which was somewhat of the catalyst for university officials getting serious, even though discussions dated back years before that."

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