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SUPERVISOR RIDLEY-THOMAS Almost two years ago, HMC Architects delivered renderings for a new Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital that inspired widespread hope and enthusiasm for a top-of-the-line healthcare facility in Willowbrook. Today, those plans are no longer just pictures on a drawing board. With the Board of Supervisors' vote awarding $165 million to the Inpatient Tower Project at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Center, contractor Hensel Phelps now begins construction of the new 120-bed hospital. "After today, the shovel goes in the ground and the building commences for a cutting edge healthcare facility," said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. Roughly 194,000 square feet of the existing six-story tower will be renovated to build the new hospital. A new 25,000-square-foot ancillary building will be constructed adjacent to the hospital and will house a cafeteria and administrative offices. In addition, the project includes new equipment, renovation and seismic upgrades to the existing central plant that will serve both the Inpatient Tower and the Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center on the MLK Campus. In an effort to optimize energy efficiency, the Department of Public Works will work with Hensel Phelps to include sustainable design features. The new buildings will be designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification standards."We are making a commitment not only to provide the community with the best possible health care, but also making an investment in our community's environmental well-being and future," said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.