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Cleveland Clinic Breaks Ground on $177M Eye Institute Expansion

Design plans include a renovation and four-story new structure.

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Cleveland Clinic Breaks Ground on $177M Eye Institute Expansion
Concept rendering of the Jeffrey and Patricia Cole Building at Cole Eye Institute.

The Cleveland Clinic hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking for the construction of the 150,000-square-foot Jeffrey and Patricia Cole Building at Cole Eye Institute, and renovation of the existing 130,000-square-foot Cole Eye Institute building constructed in 1999.

The two buildings “will be connected to create an integrated eye center designed to deliver an outstanding patient experience, as well as leading edge eye care, research and education,” according to a press release.

Cole Eye serves more than 330,000 patients annually. The institute includes more than 140 staff physicians and researchers.

“This project is rooted in our vision to make Cleveland Clinic the best place for care anywhere,” said Cleveland Clinic CEO and President Tom Mihaljevic, M.D. “Through expanded facilities, we can improve access and touch more lives, which we see as our ethical imperative. The world looks to us for innovative solutions and projects like this that position Cleveland Clinic to thrive in today’s complex healthcare environment.”

The expansion was made possible by a lead gift of $31.5 million from Jeffrey A. Cole and his wife, Patricia O’Brien Cole. Cole and his company Cole National, which at one time was the world’s largest provider of commercial vision care services and based in Cleveland for 60 years, also contributed the lead gift that established the Cole Eye Institute in 1999.

“It has been a long journey since 1999 to today’s groundbreaking,” said Jeffrey Cole. “But it marks the opportunity for Cole Eye to further serve more patients in need of eye care and to become the number one program in the nation.”

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Philanthropy has been critical to this expansion with $125 million raised to support this project, including funds for capital expenses and expanding patient care, research and education.

“are centered on a team-based operating model to improve access for patients, increase capabilities and enhance patient experience,” according to the release. The new facility will feature an ophthalmic surgical center that will include 12 operating rooms, three refractive surgery procedure rooms and 50 eye exam rooms.

“The expansion of Cole Eye Institute has been fueled by our exponential growth over the past decade,” said Daniel F. Martin, MD, chairman of Cole Eye Institute and the Barbara and A. Malachi Mixon III Institute Chair of Ophthalmology. “This new leading-edge facility will allow our caregivers to continue providing exceptional clinical care and to facilitate innovative breakthroughs in research.”

Renovation plans also include the expansion of the Louise Timken Ophthalmic Education Center, which will facilitate growth of eye research, an expanded education and training simulation center and centralization of multiple ophthalmology research labs. The space will also feature a new Center of Excellence in Ophthalmic Imaging.

The project is expected to begin in late summer with completion at the end of 2025. Patient care will continue during construction.

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