Longtime Hospital Patrons Make Leadership Gift in Support of New Hospital Project

Sep 30, 2008


The Princeton HealthCare System Foundation announced today that it has received a gift from the George H. Sands and Estelle M. Sands Foundation for $7 million in support of the new University Medical Center of Princeton (UMCP), the acute care hospital of Princeton HealthCare System (PHCS).

The gift, which is the second largest received by the PHCS Foundation in support of its ongoing campaign, will fund The George and Estelle Sands Center for Cardiac and Pulmonary Care. The cardiology and pulmonary program within the new UMCP will dedicate over 9,300 square feet of space and new equipment to enhance UMCP's current capabilities. The program will include diagnostic cardiology, pulmonary procedures and testing, a cardiac catheterization laboratory, as well as cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation.

The replacement hospital is scheduled to open in 2011.

"When we started planning the replacement hospital, I was fortunate to have spent many hours with George and his son, Jeffrey, discussing project details and management issues," said Barry S. Rabner, President and CEO of Princeton HealthCare System. "We benefited greatly from their experiences and integrity. Estelle Sands has been a long-time supporter of our nursing staff through a special scholarship program she established with the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and our nursing department. Through this wonderful gift, the Sands family is helping redefine how care is delivered in central New Jersey."

A $5 million portion of the gift will support the construction of the new hospital, specifically the area designated for The George and Estelle Sands Center for Cardiac and Pulmonary Care. The remaining $2 million will be reserved in a restricted endowment designated as The George and Estelle Sands Fund for Cardiac and Pulmonary Care.  These funds will support various programs within the Sands Center for education, physician training, the training of nurses and staff, and other needs of the Center.

"We are very grateful to the George H. Sands and Estelle M. Sands Foundation for this tremendous gift," said Bob Doll, co-chair of the Design for Healing capital campaign in support of the new hospital. "George and Estelle have a long history of leadership within our community and have demonstrated once again how fortunate we are to have the Sands Family as our neighbors and friends. Their gift to the campaign raises our sights; I believe that their generosity will encourage others within our community to give to the new hospital so that we can leave a legacy for our children and our grandchildren. My thanks go out to them, as well as to all the individuals and organizations who have already supported us."

The couple, residents of Princeton for more than 60 years, were motivated to make this gift by their profound love of the town and their commitment to support quality healthcare. Mr. Sands, who was a real estate investor, passed away in November of 2007.

The George and Estelle Sands Foundation has a long track record of philanthropy. In addition to numerous smaller contributions to local charities, the Foundation made a large contribution to the Princeton Public Library, an integral part of the fabric of the Princeton community. The building was named after George and Estelle Sands. They also established the Sands Scholars Program which provides scholarships for eight nursing students each year at the University of Pennsylvania in exchange for their commitment to work at the University Medical Center at Princeton after they graduate for each year they receive support. The George and Estelle Sands Foundation is also a generous supporter of the Arts Council of Princeton and made a significant contribution to its campaign for a new building.

According to Mrs. Sands, "I am pleased to be able to continue the tradition of support to this community which has meant so much to me, my family, and late husband. The new University Medical Center of Princeton will be a significant and much needed improvement for everyone in our community and area."

In 2007, Mr. and Mrs. Sands received the Honorary Alumni Award from the University of Pennsylvania. Mrs. Sands is also a member of the Academy of the University of Pennsylvania. Estelle Sands has been very private throughout her life and only makes gifts to pre-selected charitable organizations.

"We thank the George H. Sands and Estelle M. Sands Foundation for recognizing the importance of the capital campaign to our community's future with their considerable gift. On behalf of both the System Board of Trustees and the Foundation Board of Directors, we thank the Sands family for their generosity," said JoAnn Heffernan Heisen, co-chair of the Design for Healing campaign, and member of the PHCS Board of Trustees.

Announcement of the gift comes just days before the official groundbreaking for the new hospital, which takes place this Friday, October 3.

Located only 2.5 miles from downtown Princeton, the hospital's new site creates an opportunity to dramatically redefine health care in the region. The hospital, founded in 1919, will trade its nine-acre Princeton location for an expansive 50-acre site within a 159-acre health campus in Plainsboro with dedicated emergency vehicle access from Route One and patient access from both Scudders Mill Road and Plainsboro Road. Utilizing the latest research in healthcare facility design and medical technology, the new hospital will include:

  • Single patient rooms that maximize patient privacy and safety, and provide amenities such as wireless Internet access, room-dedicated ventilation and temperature control systems, and room service dining;
  • State of the art emergency department exam rooms with designated areas for addressing pediatric emergencies, as well as psychiatric emergencies;
  • Spacious operating rooms to accommodate robotics and other emerging technologies;
  • A light-filled atrium entrance that welcomes visitors, while clearly and conveniently leading them through a central "main street" to one of our centers of care;
  • The Joan and William Schreyer Education Center, a vital hub of learning for medical professionals, medical students, patients and families, and citizens of the community. It will feature a library with print and electronic access to materials, high-tech classrooms that can be converted into an auditorium or integrated with the surgical suites, and video-conferencing capabilities.

The new hospital will also incorporate the latest digital technology, including digitized medical records, interactive hospital maps, patient education materials and other innovations that take accuracy, safety, convenience, and privacy to a new level.

In addition, the design of the facility will incorporate energy and resource-conservation innovations that will make it a model of sustainability among community hospitals throughout the country.

Selection of the Plainsboro site followed a three-year planning process involving extensive community outreach and collaboration with all stakeholders, including state and local government leaders, area residents, physicians, trustees and staff.

Early in 2007, the New Jersey State Department of Health and Senior Services officially supported the hospital's relocation by granting a Certificate of Need. In July 2008, Plainsboro granted the site plan approval for the project. Demoli