A view of the Circle of Hope and UF Health Cancer Center from the UF Health Heart & Vascular and UF Health Neuromedicine Hospitals’ third-floor terrace.

Hundreds gathered in the Circle of Hope driveway Thursday morning for the UF Health Heart & Vascular and UF Health Neuromedicine Hospitals’ ribbon-cutting.

The roughly 500,000 square foot complex has 216 private patient rooms, 120 of which belong to the Heart & Vascular Hospital and the other 96 to the Neuromedicine Hospital. UF Health began construction of the building, located at 1505 SW Archer Road, in January 2015, said Rossana Passaniti, the UF Health media relations coordinator. It cost $425 million to build.

Patients from UF Health Shands Hospital in neurological and cardiological intensive-care units will be moved to the new hospitals Dec. 10, Passaniti said. New patients will begin to be seen Dec. 11.

At the ceremony, UF President Kent Fuchs said the hospitals will meet an increasing need for specialized care.

“We have this huge growing demand that’s going up roughly 10 percent every year,” he said. “More people want to come here to be treated and diagnosed, so this meets that capacity.”

The hospitals have five general and three hybrid heart and vascular operating rooms. Of the seven neuromedicine operating rooms, two have MRI scanners attached to the room, which allow doctors to safely perform an MRI scan mid-surgery without having to transport patients to a new suite.

“We needed the facility to match your talent, your expertise,” Ed Jimenez, the CEO of UF Health, told medical professionals at the ceremony.

Jimenez stressed that the hospitals provide the opportunity for patients to have more procedures done at the same time.

Passaniti said the facility was built with patients in mind. Artwork by Gainesville artists adorn the walls, and the calming color scheme and warm lighting is meant to reflect nature, she said. On the third floor, there is a dining terrace where patients can step outside and look out onto the pond at the center of the Circle of Hope. The monitoring capabilities extend to the terrace so all cardiological patients can enjoy the fresh air.

Contractors throughout the area are wrapping up the construction. Furniture needs to be moved in, linens need to be placed on beds, and factory labels need to be removed from equipment before patients arrive.

In the meantime, the hospital rooms will undergo a terminal cleaning to make them fit for operation and patient care.

Fuchs said he attended the groundbreaking for the hospitals as his first public event as UF’s president in January 2015.

“We’re opening in a little less than 3 years,” he said. “For this many square feet and for a very specialized kind of facility, that’s record speed.”