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Scripps Health Lusardi Tower
Scripps Health says it plans to use the funds to support various breast cancer efforts. Photo courtesy of Scripps Health
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Lusardi family donates $25 million to Scripps Encinitas for new hospital tower

RANCHO SANTA FE — Local philanthropists Warner and Debbie Lusardi, of Rancho Santa Fe, have given Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas the largest donation in its history — a $25 million investment to help fund a new acute care hospital tower and pulmonary institute.

“We are immensely grateful to Warner and Debbie Lusardi, whose historic gift will have a truly transformative impact on the region’s health care for generations to come,” said Chris Van Gorder, president and chief executive officer of Scripps Health. “This investment will provide North County residents with expanded access to the high-quality, compassionate health care they have come to expect from Scripps Encinitas.”

The new hospital building, to be called Lusardi Tower, will be a three-story, 224,000-square-foot facility that will offer a broad range of patient care services.

The building will include 64 inpatient beds that will be used for a variety of clinical needs, including medical-surgical care, intensive care and progressive (or intermediate) care, as well as additional operating suites.

Debbie and Warner Lusardi
Philanthropists Debbie and Warner Lusardi of Rancho Santa Fe

Scripps expects site work to begin at the hospital in early 2022, with the first phase of Lusardi Tower expected to be open for patient care in 2025. The tower will be situated between the existing main hospital building and the Leichtag Foundation Critical Care Pavilion.

Lusardi Tower also will be home to the new Lusardi Pulmonary Institute, which will provide a wide spectrum of patient care for respiratory conditions.

The institute will include early detection of lung cancer, minimally invasive diagnostic lung biopsy, thoracic surgery and treatment of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and sleep-related disorders. It will provide both inpatient and outpatient care, including prevention, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and research.

“An investment of this magnitude will allow us to take a significant step forward for our patients, their families and the entire caregiving team, making Scripps Encinitas a top destination for health care,” said Scott Eisman, M.D., physician chief operating executive at Scripps Encinitas. “We’ve seen demand for health care services increase steadily over the past decade at Scripps Encinitas, and with continuing population growth expected, it’s critical that we take steps now to prepare for the future.”

Lusardi Tower and Lusardi Pulmonary Institute are key components of the second and final phase of a master plan that is well underway at Scripps Encinitas.

Another phase-two project, a three-story, 68,000-square-foot medical office pavilion located on the northernmost portion of the hospital campus, is currently under construction, with completion expected next year.

Phase one of the hospital’s master plan was completed in 2016. It includes the Leichtag Foundation Critical Care Pavilion, which offers an emergency department and a medical-surgical unit.

The Lusardi’s have a long history of supporting Scripps Encinitas and the entire Scripps Health system. They helped launch Scripps Encinitas’ current fundraising campaign with a $1.1 million gift. Additional donations by the Lusardis helped efforts to upgrade the hospital’s operating rooms and acquire two separate pieces of diagnostic technology to detect respiratory issues and bladder cancer.

“The Lusardi family has deep roots in San Diego County, and this generous gift is a testament to their legacy of leadership and altruism, which will continue to have a significant impact on our community for generations to come,” said John Engle, corporate senior vice president and chief development officer with Scripps Health. “We couldn’t be more proud for this vital addition to Scripps Encinitas to bear the Lusardi name.”

Beyond Scripps Encinitas, Warner and Debbie Lusardi donated to support the Prebys Cardiovascular Institute and the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute.

Warner Lusardi co-founded Lusardi Construction Co. with his father, Peter, in 1958. The full-service general contractor has completed thousands of construction projects across the United States, including office buildings, educational facilities, hotels, retail centers and business parks. Warner and Debbie Lusardi’s volunteer efforts have been recognized with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Patrons’ Breath of Life Award, and the Distinguished Achievement Award from Circle of Life 100, a group that supports Scripps Encinitas.