Series 7                    Health Center Architect

Series 7                                             Health Center Architect

Physical Description: 1 box (0.4 linear feet)

Arrangement Note: Materials from Jefferson Hamilton’s files.

Agency Note: Jefferson Hamilton was the architect for the University in the 1940s and in the period when the health center was planned.

Jefferson Hamilton described himself as one of a small group which followed through the early educational and technical planning of the J. Hillis Miller Health Center.  This group included J. Hillis Miller, John S. Allen (Vice President of UF at the time), George F. Baughman (then Business Manager), Russell S. Poor- Director of Medical Center Study and later Provost of the Health Center, John M. Maclachlan, Chief of Staff of the Medical Center Study, George T. Harrell MD.  Hamilton felt the first action that set into motion this planning effort was the authorization by the 1947 State Legislature of a study to investigate the needs, location, and cost of a medical school.  This study produced what became known as the Lippard Report which was submitted in 1949.  The report argued that it was more important to locate a medical school centrally, despite claims made by the large metropolitan centers, and should be administered as a division of a state university.   The study recommended Gainesville as the site and the 1949 legislative session designated Gainesville as the situation for the future  medical school.  This session did not allocate funds for the school.  In 1950 the Florida State Improvement Commission requested a grant of $10,000 for planning colleges of Nursing and Medicine.  In 1950 and Dr. Vernon Lippard and Dr. Basil MacLean were asked to act as consultants.  On August 14, 1950, the first meeting with the two consultants was held on campus.  Several possible sites were visited on outlying acreage but the consultants were adamant in wanting a site on the main campus.   President Miller then asked the Consultants to write a brief report on their findings, to include an outline of the size, nature of medical facilities that would be needed, together with the cost- these consultants said that a brief visit was insufficient to produce such a document.  President Miller convinced them, in consultant with Jefferson Hamilton to produce a report after a two day closed session that gave a comprehensive outline of services to be performed, the type of patients to be reached in the State, the size of classes for the college of Medicine and Nursing, then listed what medical science building, the clinical wing, and the hospital would include by way of facilities, services, and disciplines on each floor and the number of square feet required for each.  During this process, the consulting architect was able to prepare schematic plans, showing space required in each unit of instruction and service and the relationship of each.  This report was considered surprising because of its completeness and accuracy- for instance, suggesting a square footage of 607,000, while a different group of consultants developed a plan calling for 649,500.  The report estimated a cost of $14,550,000 whereas the costs for the complex was nearer $14,000,000.

This report provided the basis for further schematic plans and eventually a scale model that was used for displays across the state.  The model made it possible to explain and describe the health center, and it was displayed at many County Medical Associations by Jefferson Hamilton.  The remainder of the $10,000 wasused to visit existing medical colleges  in the East.  In 1951 the state legislature appropriated $100,000 to plan a college at Gainesville.

The planning commission at Gainesville continued to study existing medical schools that could serve as potential models for the medical school but needed an MD on staff.  In 1952 Dr Miller received a $96,500 grant from the Commonwealth Fund to conduct an intensive study that would assess the current and future health care needs of the State, and to plan a college program and philosophy while anticipating the growth of medical research and practice.  In 1952 the Medical Center Study was established with Dr. Russell Poor as direcor.  The Study set up a national executive committee with three medical deans and three non-medical educators.  The Executive Committee met several times and the consulting architect sat with the Committee, adapting the schematic plans to meet the growing philosophy.  Dr. George T. Harrell, a member of the executive committee,  proved to have such a grasp of physical planning, the consulting architect requested the Director to appoint him as medical director, a position which would require him to travel with the group to over 20 colleges of medicine.  The travels enabled the team to study philosophies of each college, and to see how the physical plant of each college.  As the Health Center took form, Dr. Harrell became the logical choice for the new dean because of his broad knowledge of medical education, his grasp of the organization and administration necessary for a new medical college, and particularly his understanding of physical planning required for so complex an institution.

He was appointed in October of 1953, and officially took office on January 1, 1954.  Because Dr. Miller had passed away in the meantime, Dr. Harrell’s prior contact and familiarity with planning for the health center made a transition simpler.  He also was able to give the outside architect hired in 1954 valuable guidance for developing the preliminary plans for the center.  The staged plans called for first building the Medical Sciences Building, construction of which began in 1954, in order to prepare for a class matriculating in 1956.  The hospital would be ready in 1958, in time for the junior medical class to have a site for clinical preparation.

Hamilton served as the consulting architect and remained involved in the project even after an outside architect also was called in.  He became involved in the 1940s and was instrumental in choosing potential sites and carrying out Dr. Miller’s plans.

Contents Note:  This collection contains early correspondence and material predating the medical center study, early information on potential sites, as well as material from Dr. Harrell and the travels to various different medical colleges.

Folder Listing:

Box 1
Medical Center History
Correspondence Jefferson Hamilton and others 1953
Medical Center 1953 correspondence of Jefferson Hamilton
Medical Center Sq Ft Figures, original mimeos
Medical Center Early Data
Medical Center Early Correspondence
Medical Center Plans
Medical Center Papers by Dr. George T. Harrell MD
Meeting with County Medical Societies
Material from inspection trip to Southeast
Material from Inspection trip to West Coast medical schools Sept 21-Oct 3 1952-1953
Material from Inspection trip to Southwest 1953 and 1954