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U. of Utah health care buying land, expanding

Published November 20, 2012 10:03 pm

Hospitals • System eyes space for clinics in Murray, Farmington.
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The state Board of Regents has approved $19.4 million in land acquisition requests by the University of Utah to expand its clinical operations.

The U. proposes turning an existing four-building complex in Murray into dermatology and ophthalmology clinics. The university also hopes develop land in Farmington into a multi-specialty clinic that would enhance patient access and preserve U. market share in Davis County.

The nine-acre parcel in Murray, at 6100 South and Fashion Place Boulevard, carries a $14 million price tag.

"This location is the best we could find," said Randy Olson, CEO of the Moran Eye Center at the U. "It has access from all the major freeways. In the new environment of the Affordable Care Act we need to be very patient friendly."

And that means developing clinics closer to where patients live so they don't have to travel to the U.'s crowded health-science campus for out-patient care, officials say.

Two of the buildings would be demolished to make way for a 60,000-square-foot clinical building, while the other two will be put out for lease. The project's $30 million cost would be financed from hospital reserve funds and $10 million in revenue bonds the Legislature has approved, said Olson.

The clinics to be consolidated are housed at three leased locations, costing the university $550,000.

The U. also is looking at a 10.4-acre parcel in Farmington that Regents on Friday approved for acquisition with a cost at around $5.4 million. A proposed clinical facility would provide a variety of outpatient services to U. patients who live in Davis County.

The site is next to Farmington Station Park, where Interstate 15 and U.S. 89 meet near the Lagoon amusement park.

"We are considering changing away from inpatient activity to an outpatient arena that is closer to the patient," said Gordon Crabtree, the chief financial officer of the U.'s health-care network.

Other than a small clinic in Centerville and some dialysis centers, the U. does not have much of a footprint in Davis County.

bmaffly@sltrib.com