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$25 million new gift to Scripps Memorial Hospital from Warner and Debbie Lusardi
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$25 million new gift to Scripps Memorial Hospital from Warner and Debbie Lusardi

Work to expand Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas took a step forward recently with the start of construction on the $263 million Lusardi Tower.

Scripps leaders, philanthropists and local public officials gathered at the North County campus recently for a ceremony commemorating the groundbreaking of the three-story, 224,000-square-foot facility.

Scripps Health received a $25-million new gift for the newest building – the largest donation in the history of Scripps Encinitas – from philanthropists Warner and Debbie Lusardi of Rancho Santa Fe. The couple has a long history of supporting the system, including launching the fundraising campaign for Scripps Encinitas with a $1.1 million gift.

Their other donations supported upgrades to the hospital’s operating rooms and the acquisition of diagnostic technology to detect respiratory issues and bladder cancer. They also have donated to the Prebys Cardiovascular Institute and the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute, both located in La Jolla.

“We couldn’t be bringing the future of patient-centered health care to Encinitas without the long-term support of Warner and Debbie,” said John Engle, corporate senior vice president and chief development officer with Scripps Health.

It is set to offer a broad range of patient care services, including acute care and specialized pulmonary care.

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

The project, set to open before the end of 2025, will add 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 pulmonary medicine program, with inpatient and outpatient care. The expansion will bring the hospital’s total bed count to more than 230.

“We’ve seen demand for health care services steadily grow over the past decade at Scripps Encinitas, and we expect that trend to continue,” said Dr. Scott Eisman, physician chief operating executive of the hospital. “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 pulmonary institute are key components of the second and final phase of the master plan for hospital expansion.

An earlier phase-two project – a three-story, 68,000-square-foot medical office pavilion 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, with an emergency department and a medical-surgical unit.

The Lusardi’s other donations supported upgrades to the hospital’s operating rooms and the acquisition of diagnostic technology to detect respiratory issues and bladder cancer. They also have donated to the Prebys Cardiovascular Institute and the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute, both located in La Jolla.

“We couldn’t be bringing the future of patient-centered health care to Encinitas without the long-term support of Warner and Debbie,” said John Engle, corporate senior vice president and chief development officer with Scripps Health.

Scripps’ goal is to raise $60 million to support the phase-two facilities at Scripps Encinitas, with the remaining funding to come from income and debt financing.

Founded in 1964, Scripps Encinitas offers a broad spectrum of health care services, including cardiovascular and cancer care, orthopedics and 24-hour emergency services. It is also home to OB/GYN and maternal and infant health services, including a neonatal intensive care unit.


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