LMH gets record-breaking donation to help build new outpatient medical center

photo by: Rendering courtesy of Pulse Design Group

A look at one of the main entrances to the proposed LMH outpatient medical center in west Lawrence.

A Kansas City foundation is providing a $2 million grant to help Lawrence Memorial Hospital build a major outpatient medical center in west Lawrence.

The Sunderland Foundation of Kansas City is giving $2 million to the LMH Health Foundation to be used in the construction of an approximately $100 million outpatient medical center project near Rock Chalk Park in northwest Lawrence.

The gift from the Sunderland Foundation is the largest in the history of the LMH Health Foundation, which previously was known as the LMH Endowment Association. Hospital leaders said LMH benefits greatly from such gifts.

“Our vision to be a partner for lifelong health would not be possible without the tremendous philanthropic support of our community,” Russ Johnson, president and CEO of LMH Health, said in a release. “That support enables our nurses, physicians, and other clinical staff to provide millions of dollars in charity care each year. We are incredibly grateful to the Sunderland Foundation for investing in the future of our community and its collective health.”

The outpatient project — dubbed LMH Health West — is one of the largest in the history of the nonprofit hospital. Plans call for the center to be about 200,000 square feet and include a number of health providers and services. They include:

• Expanded space for the LMH Breast Center, which will move from its current location at LMH South.

• An enlarged surgery center for outpatient procedures.

• An orthopedic center run by OrthoKansas, which will provide treatment for knee, hip, shoulder and other joint issues.

• A large imaging lab that will include equipment for CT scans, MRIs, X-rays and other specialty equipment.

• Primary care doctor’s offices for Mt. Oread Family Practice and the Internal Medicine Group.

• A retail pharmacy.

• About 30,000 square feet of space that can be leased to other specialty medical practices, including orthopedic surgery specialists, plastic surgery physicians, ophthalmologists and other specialists.

The project won’t include any inpatient services. All inpatient procedures, the emergency room and a host of other services will continue to be located at the hospital at Third and Maine streets.

Construction work on the outpatient project — which is just south and west of the KU Tennis Center at Rock Chalk Park — is underway. The facility is expected to open in 2020.

The Sunderland Foundation has partnered with LMH before on projects such as a heart catheterization lab and the hospital’s efforts to add behavioral health care services. Rebecca Smith, executive director of the LMH Foundation, said Sunderland’s latest gift “affirms a remarkable and enduring relationship, one that ensures LMH Health can fulfill its newly envisioned purpose as a partner in lifelong health.”

The Sunderland Foundation was established in 1945 by Lester T. Sunderland, who served as the president of the Ash Grove Cement Company for 33 years. The foundation has focused on awarding grants for construction projects involving nonprofits in the greater Kansas City area and other markets traditionally served by the Ash Grove Cement Company.

While LMH is using grants to pay for a portion of the new outpatient center, the bulk of the project will be paid for through new debt the hospital has issued and cash reserves that LMH has accumulated over the years.


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