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Johns Hopkins Holds Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for New Wilmer Eye Institute Building - 06/08/2009

Johns Hopkins Holds Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for New Wilmer Eye Institute Building

Release Date: June 8, 2009

June 8, 2009- The Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins will celebrate the end of construction of the new Wilmer building at The Johns Hopkins Hospital with a one-hour ceremony and ribbon cutting, starting at 11 a.m., on Wednesday, June 10.

The 207,000-square-foot, $105 million, ultramodern Robert H. and Clarice Smith Building, named for its leading donors, is on the corner of Broadway and Orleans Street and is angled precisely toward the historic Wilmer dome. The dome is reflected in the new building’s specially designed reflective windows, melding tradition and history with the modern. This facility is the first to be finished under Hopkins medical campus expansion project, which is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2011.

“This is a new beginning for the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins and the more than 14,000 patients that come annually to receive sight-saving operations from its world-renowned medical staff,” says Edward D. Miller, M.D., dean of the medical faculty at Johns Hopkins University and the chief executive officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine. “The Maurice Bendann Surgical Pavilion within the new Wilmer building will have six of the most modern ophthalmic operating rooms in the world , allowing our surgeons to perform 50 percent more procedures each day,” says Peter J. McDonnell, M.D., director and William Holland Wilmer Professor of Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute. “Surgeons, nurses and patients will each benefit from this tremendous environment.”

The new Wilmer building also will include five floors dedicated to research, more than doubling the space devoted to what is already the largest eye-related research program in the country. There, Wilmer clinicians and scientists will be able to work collaboratively on a variety of research projects. “Our new building will help eliminate the major challenge that existed in Wilmer’s century-old original building: the separation of and lack of communication between senior and junior investigators working on vision research,” says McDonnell. “Our scientists and investigators will now be able to work side by side as they make new discoveries.”

A notable artistic feature of the new Wilmer building is a 36-foot, six-ton sculpture titled Quest, which was made from polished stainless steel and created by former patient and well-known American sculptor, John Safer. Safer came to Wilmer over a decade ago after being diagnosed with macular degeneration and was treated by Morton Goldberg, M.D., former head of the Wilmer Eye Institute. Eye surgeon Oliver Schein also treated Safer for cataracts. Safer credits these treatments with his being able to continue his work, and he created Quest to show his appreciation. Goldberg, who has been a driving force behind the construction of the new building, says that “Quest, which resembles a strand of DNA, truly symbolizes Wilmer’s mission of seeking new knowledge in the battle against vision loss.”

In addition, the New York landscape artist and patient, Wolf Kahn, has offered 16 of his paintings on extended loan to brighten the surgical waiting area.

The facility will be open to patients in August 2009. The building dedication, set to coincide with the 80-year anniversary of Wilmer’s first dedication, will take place on October 16.

For the Media

Media Contact:

John Lazarou 410-502-8902; 443-799-3720 cell; jlazaro1@jhmi.edu  

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