SAN DIEGO (CNS) - After nearly 40 years on Upas Street near Balboa Park, the San Diego Blood Bank's main donor center reopened Tuesday in a new location east of downtown San Diego.
Over the next week, the Blood Bank's administrative offices, labs, blood storage and hospital delivery services will be moved into the more spacious facility at 3636 Gateway Center Ave. in the Mt. Hope neighborhood.
The Blood Bank's Lynn Stedd said the new building more than doubles the previous space.
"We're able to bring our bloodmobile operations and bloodmobile staff into the same building where we process the blood," Stedd said.
The bulky bloodmobiles were incompatible with the quiet neighborhood around their old location, so they were stored on Aero Drive in Kearny Mesa, she said.
With all operations on one floor, processing blood from donation to hospital should be much easier, according to Stedd.
When the Upas Street headquarters opened in 1972, the bank had one bloodmobile and collected less than 50,000 pints of blood per year. Those totals have since increased to 13 bloodmobiles and more than 120,000 donations annually, according to the bank.
The new spot is near Interstate 15 and Market Street, what Stedd called a "freeway-friendly location." The 805 freeway and state Route 94 are also very close.
Stedd said the first day of business included more than 100 appointments for donations, much busier than a normal day, probably because donors want to check out the new site.
The Blood Bank is planning a major gift campaign for the near future and will offer naming rights for the Gateway Center headquarters, she said.
For now, a smaller campaign is under way in which benefactors can purchase tiles or bricks, personalize them to commemorate family or special occasions, and have them placed in the building's plaza, according to Stedd.
A grand opening celebration is scheduled for next month.
The Upas Street location closed its doors last Saturday.
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