SADDLEBACK MEMORIAL DEDICATES REDESIGNED MAIN ENTRANCE AND NEW COURTYARD PLAZAAugust 12, 2009
Laguna Hills, Calif. (August 11, 2009) – Officials of the Saddleback Memorial Medical Center (SMMC) dedicated the hospital’s newly upgraded Main Entrance and Courtyard Plaza in honor of donors Mary and Gary Damsker and Judith Robbins, who provided funding for the project.
SMMC CEO Steve Geidt spoke about Laguna Woods resident and Saddleback Memorial Foundation board member Gary Damsker and his late wife Mary’s philanthropic spirit. As long-time donors, the Damskers provided funding for the SMMC Chapel in Laguna Hills and the Serenity Garden at the San Clemente campus. They have also funded SMMC scholarships through the years due to Mary’s strong belief in education. During the dedication, Damsker cut the ceremonial red ribbon to the new entry way.
Charlotte McCleerey, trustee of the Judith Robbins trust, spoke of Robbins’ lifetime commitment to working with seniors and her wish to contribute to areas where they could sit and enjoy relaxing environments, such as the SMMC Courtyard Plaza with the new water fountain as its centerpiece. According to McCleerey, Robbins loved the sound of water and funded several other fountains throughout Orange County at senior centers and other board and care facilities. During the ceremony, McCleerey pushed a ribbon clad button, turning on the cascading water of the fountain.
“The entrance had looked the way it did since opening the hospital in 1974,” said Geidt. “Thanks to the generosity of the Damskers and Judy Robbins, we were able to create an entrance that is now more modern and identifiable. Having the courtyard with the fountain provides a feeling of comfort and healing to our visitors.”
Architect firm Alexander + Hibbs AIA, Inc. was commissioned to redesign the entry way to the hospital.
“As the water feature was an initial requirement for the project, we thought that the 30-foot tower element provided opportunity for both visual prominence as well as the seven-foot water feature focal point,” said Rolland Alexander, principal of Alexander + Hibbs AIA, Inc. “The cascading water provides a relaxing, therapeutic atmosphere when either walking past or sitting in the courtyard.”
“Saddleback Memorial is very fortunate to have donors such as the Damskers and Judy Robbins,” said Saddleback Memorial Foundation president Cecilia Belew. “It is through contributions such as theirs that we are able to fund necessary programs, equipment and special projects at our not-for-profit medical center.”
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