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Sleiman lays cornerstone to new medical facility
Sleiman congratulated AUB on its new center as he set down the cornerstone.
Sleiman congratulated AUB on its new center as he set down the cornerstone.
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BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman and American University of Beirut officials laid the cornerstone to a new medical building Tuesday, inaugurating a facility that will significantly expand the offerings of the AUB Medical Center. “We congratulate the university on its new center,” Sleiman said.

“Lebanon was renowned, before the winds of [sectarian] conflict blew, as the hub of universities and hospitals in the Middle East, and it will remain so, thanks to those who are aware of Lebanon’s role.”

The Academic and Clinical Center, located at the intersection of Maamari and Abdul-Aziz streets, will include psychiatry, oncology, ophthalmology and pain center facilities as well as a number of other new clinics and education spaces.

Sleiman and university officials set down the cornerstone blocks of the center on the site across from a coffee shop that will soon have five levels of underground parking and stories of advanced medical offices.

Computer renderings of the new center show an angular glass and concrete building marked by hundreds of slender windows, accented with tan wood colors. The dozens of new offices are to be built with a muted, modern look.

In addition to increasing the types of medical offerings, the new center will focus on expanding the university’s research and education programs. Levels of the new center will feature clinical research and human protection research facilities.

Other floors of the building will include a wing of a cancer institute as well as a heart center aimed at treating the increasing instances of cardiovascular diseases, strokes as well as the massive number of diabetes and hypertension cases in the region.

The Middle East has one of the highest rates of obesity and obesity related complications in the world.

There will also be otolaryngology and pulmonary clinics as well as a number of other academic offices.

“At AUB we are building on more than 100 years of experience, teaching, research and medical care in order to do the same in and for Lebanon,” said Philip Khoury, Head of the AUB Board of Trustees.

“We trust that this will bring great benefits not only for the Lebanese community but for the entire region,” Khoury said. “Today, as from the beginning, we strive to fully serve the health care needs of our local and regional communities.”

Tuesday’s event and the Academic and Clinical Center is part of a wide-ranging university plan launched in 2010 to increase the academic, research and treatment offerings of the university’s medical complex by the year 2020.

Other parts of the project include constructing a new administration building, new family and student medicine clinics and a massive new medical center with a 600-bed capacity.

By the time the revamping of the medical complex is complete, the university is slated to have opened the regions first Multiple Sclerosis Center and a number of other regional firsts.

The university launched a $400 million endowment campaign to fulfill its 2020 medical center goals.

“This building, as you know, is just one part of a comprehensive plan that will contribute greatly to the fields of health care delivery and medical research in this region,” said AUB president Peter Dorman at the building’s groundbreaking ceremony. – Additional reporting by Rima S. Aboulmona

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 26, 2012, on page 3.
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