Work to expand the Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas campus took a major step forward with the start of construction of the $263 million acute care Lusardi Tower and Lusardi Pulmonary Institute.

Scripps philanthropic supporters, Scripps leaders and local public officials gathered at the campus for a ceremony commemorating the groundbreaking for the three-story, 224,000-square-foot facility that will offer a broad range of patient care services and facilities.

“This event marked a major milestone in the final phase of a master plan that is propelling Scripps Encinitas into the future of healthcare with innovative growth that will serve the North County community for years to come,” said Chris Van Gorder, president and CEO of Scripps Health in a press release.

The building, set to open before the end of 2025, will have 64 private inpatient rooms, including 36 private medical/surgical beds; 16 intensive care unit beds; multiple operating rooms; and the Lusardi Pulmonary Institute, which will build on the hospital’s existing state-of-the-art interventional pulmonary medicine program and provide a complete continuum of inpatient and outpatient care, including prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. The expansion will bring the hospital’s total bed count above 230.

“We’ve seen demand for healthcare services steadily grow over the past decade at Scripps Encinitas, and we expect that trend to continue,” said Scott Eisman, M.D., physician chief operating executive of the hospital in a press release. “The Lusardi Tower and other master plan projects ensure that the campus will continue to serve the needs of our patients for many years to come.”

The Lusardi Tower and Lusardi Pulmonary Institute are key components of the second and final phase of the ongoing master plan to greatly expand the hospital campus. An earlier phase two project, a three-story, 68,000-square-foot medical office pavilion located on the northernmost portion of the hospital campus, was completed in 2021. Phase one of the master plan was completed in 2016 and included the Leichtag Foundation Critical Care Pavilion, which encompasses an emergency department and a medical-surgical unit.

The newest building was supported by a $25 million gift in 2020 from philanthropists Warner and Debbie Lusardi of Rancho Santa Fe, the largest donation in the history of Scripps Encinitas. The Lusardis have a long history of supporting Scripps Encinitas and the entire Scripps Health system, launching the ongoing fundraising campaign for Scripps Encinitas with a $1.1 million gift. Other donations from the couple supported upgrades to the hospital’s operating rooms and the acquisition of separate diagnostic technology to detect respiratory issues and bladder cancer. They also donated generously to support the Prebys Cardiovascular Institute and the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute, both located in La Jolla.