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Penn Medicine's newest facility, the $302 million Raymond and Ruth Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, formally opened its doors yesterday evening.

The building's lofty atrium was host to the opening festivities, where food, drink and a live band kept guests content. Seven speeches were given, ranging from grandiose visions of the building's future to expressions of gratitude to the building's donors.

"The building will be the cornerstone of Penn Medicine for the next century," said Ralph Muller, CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. "Science, care and compassion come together in this building."

Dean of Penn's School of Medicine Arthur Rubenstein echoed Muller's sentiment, pointing to the building's "patient-centric" approach as carrying unique benefits for the school. "Patient care enables research and education," he said.

The evening culminated with a series of pristine photo ops, as the Perelmans snipped a ceremonial red ribbon while Penn President Amy Gutmann looked on.

The 500,000 square-foot Perelman Center was touted as the future of medicine even before its groundbreaking three years ago. Jeff O'Neill, senior planner for UPHS, said that the Perelman Center's approach was uniquely friendly for patients and their families. "The services basically come to them," he said, explaining that most hospitals require patients to trek from appointment to appointment.

Dr. Steve Hahn, chair of the center's radiation oncology department - which treated its first patient in June - agreed. The hospital's approach, he said, was all the more significant because "it's coupled with all the most modern equipment."

Among such technology is the Roberts Proton Therapy Center, slated to open next fall. Proton therapy - a cutting-edge cancer treatment in which a beam of protons is focused on a tumor with minimal collateral damage - is relatively rare. Only five of such facilities exist in the country, partly due to their vast size and cost, and the Roberts facility will be the first in the world to be coupled with a full cancer treatment center.

Also under construction is the Fisher Center for Translational Research, which aims to integrate medical practice with cutting-edge medical research. The center is set to open in fall 2010.

David Cohen, chairman of Penn Medicine's Board of Trustees, said the Perelman Center has university-wide implications. "Students choose universities like Penn because there's an overall feel," he said, since facilities like the Perelman Center "lend to the aura of a world-class university."

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